King’s Mill Hospital celebrates National Play in Hospital Week

Young patients and staff at King’s Mill Hospital will be demonstrating how play helps the medicine go down in celebration of National Play in Hospital Week.

The annual initiative, which runs from 8th-14th October, was founded by National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS) and has been organised for a second year by national children’s charity Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The aim of National Play in Hospital Week is to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of poorly children across the UK. It has been funded by Starlight, which grants wishes for seriously and terminally ill children and provides entertainment in hospitals and hospices across the UK.

Patients on Ward 25, the children’s ward at the hospital, will be expressing how play helps them to cope with any pain and fear while they are in hospital by undertaking many enjoyable activities during the week including painting, drawing and sticking using a variety of materials. They will also have the opportunity of taking part in a ‘Where’s Wally’ treasure hunt sponsored by Talking Babies.

Nicola Armstrong, Play Specialist on Ward 25, said, “National Play in Hospital Week is an excellent opportunity for us to raise awareness of the benefits of play, while organising a really fun week of activities, games and entertainment for our patients.

“Being unwell can be very distressing and scary for children and play really does help to distract them from any pain and anxiety they might be feeling, which in turn can help them to better engage with their treatment.”

Neil Swan, chief executive of Starlight Children’s Foundation, said: “As a national charity that brightens the lives of over half a million poorly children in the UK each year, we are really proud to sponsor National Play in Hospital Week. The work of NAHPS and the health play specialist community is invaluable in the treatment of poorly children and we are delighted to support it.”

Irene O’Donnell, Play Services Manager at University College London Hospitals and Vice Chair of NAHPS, added “We know that good quality play and recreation opportunities can enhance mental health and the importance of children and young people’s emotional and psychological health is also recognized as having an impact on their physical health. It is important that we highlight these benefits so that play continues to be recognised as a key element in paediatric treatment.”