Chiesi supports painted hospitals project decorating Parma's pediatric ER

Very few things are harder for a parent and a child than a trip to the emergency room. Chiesi Pharmaceuticals, based in Parma, Italy, has donated in support of the Painted Hospitals project to help bring a sense of fun and calm to the pediatric emergency unit of the main hospital in Parma.

The Painted Hospitals project was started in 2012 by artist Silvio Irilli with the goal of making the ER a little less scary for children by having the rooms painted in bright and cheerful adventure scenes. For the Parma project, the theme of the ward is an enchanted forest with cute animals, butterflies, kites, balloons and calming blue skies. The illustrations feature iconic characters from kids' magazines and visions of local well-known castles—all to create a sense of comfort and familiarity.

“It’s an unfamiliar space … typically gray or white. Here is when the beauty of the idea of the artist comes in, because the very first objective if you think about it of a kid that is reaching the pediatric emergency space, is to calm down him or her to get rid of her or his fears,” said Emanuele Camera, Chiesi’s head of business excellence and customer experience.

To complete the project, Irilli must first take exacting measurements of the space as every corner and curve is decorated. He then goes back to the studio to create the panels which will be applied to the walls. Naturally, there are health requirements related to anything that goes in a hospital, so all the prints are on anti-bacterial paper, are washable and use only water-based paints.

Even though Painted Hospitals is not a nonprofit, the way it works is that it is available for free to the hospitals as a donation from foundations, individuals or companies. So far, all of the painted hospitals have been in Italy, but Irilli has worked in the U.S.; most notably, he's known for the epic mural he painted on the roof of the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

“Paintings will not fix a broken bone or will cure cancer. But incorporating art into the design of hospitals makes a significant contribution to improving the lives, health, and well-being of patients, as well as those who work or visit there. It is one step closer to more empathetic and personalized health care,” wrote Maria Paola Chiesi, director of shared value and sustainability, regarding the therapeutic effects of art on pediatric patients.

Chiesi was certified as a B Corp in 2019 and a Benefit Corporation adopting a new legal status under Italian, U.S. and French law. Chiesi’s focus is primarily in respiration, rare diseases and self care.