Play Therapy Week – Not just child’s play

During October, Children’s Hospitals around Australia celebrate Play Therapy month in recognition of the amazing work Play Therapists do with children every day.

The Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation is proud to provide funding and resources to support this initiative through our Arts in Health program at our own Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) here in Adelaide.

Euan with mum, Luella.

Jill Newman from our Foundation says there is evidence to suggest that Play Therapy can speed up recovery rates and decrease sensitivity to pain.

“Working with a Play Therapist is often one of the few times that children in hospital get to make their own decisions because play time is their time,” Ms Newman said.

On, Tuesday 16 October during Play Therapy Week at the WCH, members of the team gave out goodie bags to patients and visitors with items for distraction and creativity to keep them entertained long after they have left the hospital.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network Chief Executive Officer, Lindsey Gough, says the team’s work is more than just child’s play.

“Play Therapists provide an incredibly important service for our hospital, working to distract and entertain young patients,” Ms Gough said.

“They not only keep our patients occupied and stimulated through long hospital stays, they also make the hospital less scary for those who might be anxious about their visit and help children cope with invasive procedures.

“The therapists work with children of all ages and with a number of different medical conditions, from chronically ill patients, those in palliative care, those with life changing injuries or those who are only with us for a short while.

“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank their hard work, dedication and creativity that contributes to our proud history of caring for South Australian families.”

Dedicated Play Therapists are assigned to one of eight wards at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, with one therapist situated in the paediatric outpatient department, which can see up to 450 children each day.

Jack with Play Therapists, Kim and Georgie.

Senior Play Therapist, Marisa Salvati, says the WCH is unique in that it is the only hospital to use a ward-based approach, with Play Therapists elsewhere operating on a referral basis.

“Having our therapists dedicated to a ward means they are consistently there for the children, creating a special bond with our patients and their families” Ms Salvati says.

“It’s not unusual to find the children waiting for us when we arrive at work in the morning.”

The benefits programs such as Play Therapy has on the time children spend in hospital is not only great for patients, but also for siblings and waiting parents, providing a distraction from the usual hospital environment and waiting time.

The method each of the hospitals 10 Play Therapists use to entertain and distract a child varies across the wards. For long stay patients, often who are recovering from a traumatic incident, Play Therapist, Linda becomes a fixture in the lives of these children and their families. She is also know for making birthdays and rehabilitation milestones special for the children she cares for while they are in hospital.

Play Therapist, Leeza sees patients who don’t often come to hospital and are there for only a short period of time. She uses familiar activities like sand play and creative projects to help normalise the hospital experience.

And Kim, who looks after surgical patients, often those with serious injuries or burns, uses guided imagery with patients to help them cope with painful procedures.

The contribution made by our donors and supporters is priceless in relation to how many children and families have been impacted by the amazing and personalised treatment the Play Therapy team can provide. Making a difference every day through smiles and laughter.

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Your gift of $5 could assist in delivering our Play Therapist sessions to enrich children’s days whilst in hospital.

Your gift of $10 could provide necessary equipment for babies in neonatal intensive care.

Your gift of $20 could help to further fund CAR-T research to assist in finding cures for childhood cancer.

Your gift of $25 could assist in delivering our Play Therapist sessions to enrich children’s days whilst in hospital.

Your gift of $50 could provide necessary equipment for babies in neonatal intensive care.

Your gift of $75 could help to further fund CAR-T research to assist in finding cures for childhood cancer.

Your gift of $39 could assist in delivering our Play Therapist sessions to enrich children's days while in hospital ($468 Annual Amount).

Your gift of $49 could help purchase at-home equipment for children recovering at home, meaning more time with their family ($588 Annual Amount).

Your gift of $69 could provide necessary equipment for babies in neonatal intensive care ($828 Annual Amount).

Your gift of $99 could help to further fund CAR-T research to assist in finding cures for childhood cancer ($1,188 Annual Amount).

Your $20 gift will keep the pantry stocked with non-perishable food items to make holiday planning a breeze for our families.

Your $50 gift will bring our Beach House to life by providing comfortable and welcoming surroundings for our families to enjoy.

Your $75 gift will bring fun and laughter to the whole family as you build and maintain an assortment of activities for children (big and small!) to enjoy.

You’re donating $0 (minimum of $5). Your gift will give families a much needed break from the never ending rounds of hospital and doctor visits and instead, focus on making special memories that will last a lifetime.

Your gift of $1,000 will help support the build of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Beach House project.

Your gift of $2,500 will help support the build of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Beach House project.

Your gift of $5,000 will help support the build of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Beach House project.

You’re donating $0 (minimum of $5). Your gift will help support the build of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Beach House project.

Your generous support will help make the Beach House project at Encounter Lakes, Victor Harbor, a reality.

Your generous support will help us search for a cure for Paediatric Cancer.

Your support of $20 will provide families like Hannah’s with access to exceptional care, treatment and services.

Your contribution of $30 will help your Hospital to continue to deliver first class care and services to children like Hannah and their families.

Your donation of $50 will help to fund vital hospital equipment, services and research that helps children like Hannah to have the best chance at recovery.

Your support of $25 will provide families like Hannah’s with access to exceptional care, treatment and services.

Your contribution of $50 will help your Hospital to continue to deliver first class care and services to children like Hannah and their families.

Your donation of $75 will help to fund vital hospital equipment, services and research that helps children like Hannah to have the best chance at recovery.

You’re donating $0 (minimum of $5). Your support will make the difference to physical and occupational therapy programs that get children like Hannah home sooner.

You’re donating $0 (minimum of $5). Every dollar makes a difference to helping your hospital and supporting children and their families when they need it most.

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