Fun-filled week ahead for young hospital patients in Southampton

Health play specialists

Play specialists at Southampton’s teaching hospitals have planned a fun-filled programme of events for young patients to celebrate 50 years of national Play in Hospital Week, which begins on Monday (14 October).

Patients at Southampton Children’s Hospital and on-site rehabilitation centre Bursledon House will be able to get their faces painted, meet Star Wars soldiers the Stormtroopers and take part in “messy” play using paints and play dough.

They will also have the chance to try out two new state of the art Beamz music systems, which allow users to play 12 different instruments with their hands or fingers by interrupting four laser beams connected to the device, and participate in a colouring competition run by the charity Starlight.

In addition, the play team will also raise awareness of the value of play for sick young people and give an insight into the preparation and distraction items used to soften the hospital experience, including the novel debilitating fears clinic.

The clinic, for young patients with an overwhelming fear of certain medical procedures, sees the play specialists work closely with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s child psychology department and pain team to provide a relaxed atmosphere and help children express their concerns to staff.

Jo Cutler, a hospital play specialist on paediatric surgery ward G4, said: “Play in Hospital Week is always such a fun occasion for our brave young patients but, this year, we have planned even more exciting activities to celebrate 50 years of hospital play and demonstrate how it has evolved over time.”

Becky Cutler, a hospital play specialist based at Bursledon House, added: “The week also gives us the chance to talk to patients, families, visitors and colleagues about our role and how we work alongside clinicians to reduce the length of time children spend in hospital.”

Posted on Friday 11 October 2013