Playtime at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Staff and visitors are coming out to play at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital this week to highlight the role of our children's play specialists.

On Thursday 22 September, as part of Play In Hospital Awareness Week, there will be an exhibition in the East Atrium and a chance to meet the play specialists who help to keep children cheerful while they are in hospital.

Also on display will be the specialised play equipment they use to distract children when they face uncomfortable or frightening procedures

A video, 'Coping Strategies, starring five-year-old leukaemia patient Thomas Brasted, from Attleborough, has been filmed at NNUH and will be shown to staff and students to demonstrate how play can help children to cope.

For two-and-half years Thomas has had to endure a succession of blood tests and chemotherapy treatment to combat the disease. His leukaemia is now in remission but he still needs regular blood tests and a ‘maintenance dose’ of chemotherapy, administered through a cannula (a hollow tube inserted directly into the vein).

His mother, Sue, recalled: “Thomas used to scream the place down and he developed a fear of creams and sprays because they were always used before a procedure. Then the play specialist, Judy Holland, got involved and she worked really hard to distract his attention with special dolls that have their own cannula

“Now he refuses all creams and sprays but he will sit quietly and race the doctor to put the cannula into the doll.”

Play specialist Kathleen Doolan commented: “We want to make people more aware of the advantages of play in hospital, to make their stay smoother and more enjoyable.

Research shows that children recover faster and are much more relaxed about coming back into hospital if they have a positive experience while they are here.”

The children's ward and anaethetics room at NNUH have recently been decorated with humorous beach scenes, designed by the award winning artist Hannah Giffard, to provide a more interesting and colourful environment for our young patients.

“The scenes are great fun and we can use them to distract the children when they are feeling a bit sad,” said Kathleen.

Tuesday 20th of September 2005 06:00:43 AM