Why play in hospital matters

Posted on Wednesday 5th October 2016
Play specialists at Play in Hospitals Week

Our play team with their honorary gingerbread play specialist.

Evelina London play specialists held events to celebrate National Play in Hospitals Week from Monday 26 September.

National Play in Hospitals Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of play when treating sick children. Play specialists are trained to reduce young patients’ anxiety and stress through fun and familiar activities.

Children took part in a giant Where’s Wally? search, learned how to take blood, and enjoyed a colouring competition

Five year old Elliot, an outpatient at Evelina London, tried out some of the activities on offer. His mum, Vanessa, saw how play can be helpful in preparing children for procedures.

“Elliot had to have a blood test this morning so the play specialists suggested that he tried out one of their special lifelike dolls. He loved pretending to be a doctor, especially when the fake blood came out of the doll’s arm. It made him so much calmer about having his own blood taken a few minutes later.”

Play specialist Vicky Hoque says it’s all about making a patient’s stay in hospital as positive as possible.

“We know that children who experience play whilst in hospitals respond to treatment better. Using play to help them understand the procedure they’re about to have done is just one example of what we do.

“We also support patients through therapeutic play, distraction and by setting up routines to help long-term patients adjust to their time in hospital.

“It’s not just patients either, we help the brothers and sisters of patients feel involved when the attention has to be on their sibling.”

You can learn more about our play specialists and what they do on their team page.