Studies show that, when a child has a positive experience at the doctor’s office, it can set them on the right track for a lifetime of wellness. Therefore, when the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) decided to open a new pediatric facility — Pacific Pediatrics — they went all-out in their efforts to attract, entertain and retain their young patients.
Pacific Pediatrics, located in Woodburn, OR, was imagined from the ground-up as a place where kids would love to go, says Erin Moller, Clinic Director for three YVFWC clinics. From the ocean-themed playground outside, to the submarine entryway, and the underwater interior design and play elements, the clinic gives children many fun reasons to visit the doctor.
“Our vision states that, ‘The health of one person is the health of humanity,’” says Moller. “We want to take care of people today and create a healthier community for tomorrow. And we know that our behavior as adults is directly impacted by the experiences we have as children. If we can teach children today to be actively engaged in their health, we know that we will create lifelong good habits.”
And who wouldn’t want to go to this doctor’s office? Outside, a play area, created by PLAYTIME, LLC, welcomes guests with a giant archway that looks like a coral reef with an octopus and other sea creatures on it. Beyond the arch, young patients can play in an ocean-themed play area complete with a seal, dolphins, buoy, poured-in-place rubberized flooring and a giant submarine play structure.
“I love the play area,” admits Moller. “I’m a big fan of underwater themes, so this was a dream for me. The animals look really happy, really inviting. And I love, love, love the submarine!”
When patients walk inside Pacific Pediatrics (the young can enter the building through a portal in the submarine), the interior is awash in blues and greens. A deep-sea diver appears to be floating overhead in a sunlight; PLAYTIME-created sea creatures hang from the ceiling; every wall is covered with an underwater mural, and many of the exam tables look like sea creatures.
“Not all of the beds are sea creatures,” says Moller, “because we wanted to respect the fact that adolescents might not want to crawl up on a sea turtle.”
Moller says that Pacific Pediatrics provides care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Patients may include the underinsured or uninsured, but also people who simply haven’t been able to access quality healthcare due to the national shortage of primary care providers.
The clinic opened in late 2015 and Moller says that the play area and design elements have helped to achieve the organization’s goals. Yet, she says, nothing is more important than having a good doctor who is approachable to children.
“First, we hired a great doctor. People love him! That is the centerpiece of great care. Then, the level of the artistry in our facility means that going to the doctor’s office is fun, not scary. We really are creating a healthier community for tomorrow.”