Spotlight on: the Play team
“The team is made up of Play Specialists, trainee Play Specialists and Play Assistants who are on hand to provide support through play to children across a wide range of settings,” said Kirstin Skinner, Lead Nurse in Paediatrics in the High Dependency Unit and Play Specialist Manager.
“Research conducted by Starlight Children’s Foundation has found that play is a valuable resource to the NHS and has a positive impact on the wellbeing of children and young people during serious illness and hospital treatment. They found play intervention can reduce feelings of anxiety and help them feel happy.”
Patients coming in to hospital may have medical and clinical needs that the Play team can offer support with, such as reducing anxiety around needle phobias, nervousness about being hospitalised and offering parents hospital-related play advice.
Individual play programmes can be developed for children staying in hospital long-term to help ensure developmental milestones are met, and reduce fear, stress and even pain associated with hospital treatments.
Sophie Chapman, Play Assistant, said: “As a team we feel that the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. Our job is extremely rewarding, with positive outcomes. This makes us feel very proud of the team we work with.”
“I love working on the paediatric wards as every day is different, I really enjoy positively impacting the child’s and family’s journey throughout their time here,” said Sarah Fisher, Play Specialist.
The team relies on charity funds to help resource equipment for their activities so, to promote the great results they achieve for patients, have set up an Instagram account.