The IBSA Foundation for children and teens: movie program at the Lugano Hospital

The Lugano Regional Hospital is a leading medical centre including in paediatric treatment and care. The IBSA Foundation provides support for young patients at this hospital, who at times need long-term inpatient care and treatment. The Foundation has been doing so, including by funding since 2014 a movie program for kids at this hospital. Once a week young patients aged 11 through 16 years meet up to watch a movie together, and discuss it at the end, under the guidance of a highly-trained educator.
“Since 2014 over 50 children and teens have been engaged in this program that is part of our multidisciplinary approach to treatment and care” – explains Dr. Valdo Pezzoli, Chief of the Paediatric Department – “Kids are enthusiastic about the movie program, they often speak about it, including with us doctors, and look forward to this weekly appointment. It is not just a recreational activity. It is way for the young patients to process their own experience through the interactions with the other kids and the educator occasioned by the viewing of the movie.  Rather than the choice of movie, it is the setting itself that being conducive to reflection and exchanges triggers such processing. Comments, feelings, thoughts and reflections expressed by the kids and anything happening during each session is then conveyed by the educator to the medical staff as contributing to an all-round view of individual patients.”
Once a week, the young patients meet up in an informal, relaxed setting and as they watch the movie, forget where they are and why they are there, immersing themselves in the story of the movie, emotionally connecting and identifying with the characters in it.“Each movie is carefully  selected, never casually chosen”  – explains Emanuele Guaia, movie program educator – “My task is to stimulate the discussion and create an environment where kids feel free to express their emotions knowing that they are listened to. I’d like one day to bring together all the kids that participated in the hospital’s movie program over the years and contributed to its success and the significant results we are seeing today.”