Former Patient Provides Inspiration for Special Lighting Fixture

The large flat-screen TVs in patient rooms are bound to attract a lot of attention in the new children’s hospital. But patients and family members will notice something else about the footwalls in their rooms.

Above the patient TVs, seven cubes are mounted on the wall in three diagonal rows. The cubes appear to be cheerful decorations, but they actually form a lighting fixture known as Drew’s Lamp.

Controlled by the patient using a bedside remote, Drew’s Lamp has 11 settings. Several options allow patients to pick one of many colors to illuminate all the cubes at once. There’s a color to suit everyone’s taste: yellow, green, indigo, red, violet, orange, and blue.

For added whimsy, patients can choose other options that exhibit many colors at the same time. For example, one option will display various shades of blue, while another shows all the colors of the rainbow. When one of these options is chosen, each light fades in and out, resulting in a magical, enchanting display created and controlled by the patient. Patients also will be able to control the lights through Oneview, the education and entertainment system for patients and families.

Drew’s Lamp is designed to distract and entertain. It’s special for another reason; it allows patients to control something at a time when so much is out of their control. Even when the care team turns off the lights in a patient’s room, Drew’s Lamp will remain on until the patient turns it off.

This custom lighting feature was designed especially for our children’s hospital. Drew’s Lamp was inspired by, and named in honor of, former patient Drew Wall. Drew passed away in 2012 at age 16.

For five years, Drew was treated at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Whenever he arrived for an inpatient stay, he brought a small bedside lamp with him. The light helped him create a more home-like environment and gave him some control of his situation. A member of the hospital’s Youth Advisory Council, Drew made an impact during the early stages of planning for our new hospital.

“Drew really advocated for the patient having some sense of control and for experiencing beauty, whimsy, and fun while in the hospital,” explains Tami Pollari, director of patient- and family-centered services. As planning for the new hospital continued, staff who partnered with Drew and his family throughout his stays began referring to the lights as “Drew’s Lamp.” The name stuck.

When our new hospital opens, Drew’s Lamp will make each room seem a little more like home. The colorful lights may distract patients for a few seconds or mesmerize them for a few minutes. Most importantly, patients will have the opportunity to choose the settings they like best. Drew would have loved that.