PLAY IS EVERYTHING. Play is what children do naturally. Play is learning and laughing. Play is curiosity and surprise. However, for a sick child in hospital play means so much more. Play becomes hope, recovery, and healing. Play allows a child to be a child. Play really is everything.
A core part of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Arts in Health program is to give children access to play – through the funding Play Therapy throughout the Hospital. Play Therapists are amazing health professionals who work closely with young patients and their families to minimise their anxiety, stress and trauma associated with being unwell and in hospital. At your Hospital there is a team of 11 Play Therapists. Their role is to provide a positive and happy environment where patients are free to express their feelings through play. Each child is nurtured and supported as an individual with Play Therapists taking into consideration their unique needs, interests, cultural values and developmental abilities.
“Medical research shows that distraction and support through Play Therapy can help children understand and cope better with illness, surgery, medical treatments and hospitalisation. Play Therapists help children to feel less anxious and provide an opportunity for the child to make choices and have a sense of control. Play Therapy time is one of the few times in hospital where kids get to make their own decisions. In hospital, treatment is often managed and directed by adult medical clinicians who direct when and how things will happen – whereas PLAY is the time that the young patients get to choose what they want to do and take charge,” Jill Newman, Arts in Health Manager, WCH Foundation.
Through donations from the community, the WCH Foundation funds the Play Therapy service. Our support extends to providing resources, such as arts, crafts, books and toys, for the Play Therapists to use in activities with patients.
Meet Play Therapist: Leeza
“Play Therapists are in the unique position where we are a part of the hospital environment, knowing the processes, systems and having rapport with the nurses and doctors, whilst also having the ability to create a fun environment for the patients,” Play Therapist Leeza said.