Beautifying Hospital Environments for Children: KwickScreen and Vistamatic


Childhood isn't always easy—especially when kids get sick. Children want to play. They want magic and adventure in their lives. Kids love colour and they need it when they get ill. Unfortunately, hospitals are often drab. They are built to heal the body, not to inspire creativity and feed the imagination. But this is all changing.

I'm Mark, Director of Operations at VistaMatic. We’re a family business that designs and manufactures glazed privacy windows, since 1990. Our triple paned windows are like horizontal blinds, each pane has alternating lines of clear and translucent glass. Turn the lever one way and you can see through the transparent slats in the window. Turn it in the opposite direction and the window becomes a solid translucent pane that obscures what's on the other side.

A Complimentary Meeting

The National Health Service is one of our biggest clients. You can find our windows in hospitals across the UK. They help balance patients’ need for privacy and healthcare workers' ability to observe them. We sell about 5,000 panels a year to the NHS, but only put artwork on a few of them—maybe 100. Usually it's to match existing artwork in a ward, and in a few cases, we installed these windows in dementia wards for elderly patients. We use art instead of letters and numbers to identify rooms and floors. Alphanumeric characters can be confusing to somebody with diminished cognitive facilities. Colourful images make it easier for sufferers of this illness to know where they are.

Recently, VistaMatic helped beautify the pediatric ward in the Royal Free London Hospital. We worked with KwickScreen, a company that makes cutting-edge privacy screens. It wasn't a planned partnership, but more about being in the right place at the right time.

Healthcare that balances patient privacy and careful observation is ethical and effective.

In June of last year, I was in London for a networking event. It was a meet-the-buyers type evening. I ended up chatting with Natalie Firminger of the Royal Free London Hospital Trust. She'd seen our window panels before and suggested I talk to Michael Korn, the founder and inventor of KwickScreen. I'd never heard of the company before, but quickly learnt our products complement each other nicely.

Privacy and Patient Experience 

KwickScreen's privacy screens are an innovated solution, and ensure patient dignity. They are an easy and flexible way to divide space in an open ward. You roll them into a corner when they're not in use, and when a patient needs privacy, you just roll out the flexible material to create an instant wall. The screen can bend anywhere along its width to create a two-sided partition. If you put it against the wall, you create a cubicle with an entrance. You can also combine two or more KwickScreens to close off an even bigger space. You can print on them, too.