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Sensory retreat for children

Play and distraction are important, but often underrated, elements in the treatment of poorly children.

Child with bubble tube

It has been proved that when a child engages in play there is a reduction in the need for painkillers and sedation, it can also provide a distraction during procedures such as blood tests and cannulas. When a child is due to spend a long time at the hospital or if they are anxious about an upcoming procedure such as surgery play can both distract and relax. 

For those who are required to spend long periods of time in hospital, play and dedicated play areas, can provide that home from home experience, and escape from the hospital environment.

In recent years, Southampton Children’s Hospital, in partnership with Southampton Hospital Charity, have funded the refurbishment of the playroom on G2, Paediatric Medicine, to make it a more engaging area for children. The use of interactive and sensory equipment, fun decoration and a large screen projector has seen an increased number, from young children to teens, using this space.

The play team would now like to renovate the play room on G3 (Paediatric orthopaedics). The current room is not functional or engaging for young patients. The hope is that the room on G3 can be brought up to a similar standard to provide a much needed space for children and young adults to gain some privacy, watch a movie or take their mind off their hospital stay.

We need to raise £35,000 for this retreat to be created.

This money will support the purchase of equipment, including interactive and inclusive play items, such as; bubble columns, a fibre optic curtain, interactive panels and immersive big screen gaming capabilities. Funds raised will also be used to support the cost of buying soft furnishings and decorating the room to make it feel as welcoming as possible for young patients, their siblings and families.

Donate today - Support our sensory retreat on G3.

Evie's story

“It makes Evie’s hospital experience better. Her and Louise have their thing and that’s really special.”
"We are a normal family of four who live in Andover; me, Dave and our two daughters Georgia, who is 14, and Evie who is 11. The girls are so close and loving, it’s wonderful to see.
Evie has Cystic Fibrosis so we have been in and out of Southampton Children’s Hospital over the years with various procedures and operations. Our longest stay was 5 months, between October 2016 and March 2017 when Evie had a severe chest infection and needed oxygen. 
Evie became really poorly so I took her to Winchester Hospital where we usually go, but she was so ill that she was rushed over to HDU at Southampton. We were there for two weeks before being transferred to the Children’s Hospital. 
When she was in the Children’s Hospital she met Louise from the Play Team. They have such a good bond. They laugh; they dance and sing, they do wacky things together. 
Evie has to be isolated in case she picks up a bug or an infection from the other children. So she ends up staying in her own room a lot. She has most of her play there and her physiotherapy. She doesn’t really like physiotherapy and finds it boring so Louise encourages her and goes along with her. 
Evie with her family
Evie is really mobile and active so she finds the isolation and being in hospital really restrictive. She goes to the school and the onsite gym to mix things up a bit. Louise makes it fun and less boring for her. 
Louise always asks Evie what she would like to do. Evie loves to sing and dance, and Louise is a fantastic dancer. They have done tap-dancing together. Louise got her to bring in her tap shoes when she came in. They do masses of messy play, Louise ends up covered in glitter and it’s all in Evie’s bed. It’s the sort of thing you don’t want her doing at home. 
Just anything goes. Recently she had a manicure and a head massage. Evie calls it pamper time. It just takes her away from the hospital.”
And its not just play. As she has gotten older she has become more anxious. Sometimes she gets lonely with isolation and I work part time and her dad works and we can’t be there all the time.
Louise relaxes Evie. Sometimes if I am working it’s good to know that she is fine and that someone is keeping her company and occupied. And its not just Evie, they do things with Georgia to help her feel included, because it is hard on siblings too. The play team are so inclusive and look after our whole family. 
I really don’t know what we would do without them. 
Evie has to come in every 3 months to have an IV of antibiotics. She is usually in for two weeks after this. It’s helping her to fight infection and to get some physio to help her lungs. Now she is doing so well that we will only have to come in every 4 months. She still gets down when she knows she has to come back in, but she gets excited about seeing Louise. 
I think the retreat is a great space and it will be brilliant to have more of them. Louise has to book the room out for Evie to use it. They’ve used it for crafts – the play team organised activities around different countries. G2 did China and Evie got to make a lantern. 
The Retreat means she can do things like that in her room or sit up at a table in there. And that is so special."
Donate today - Support our sensory retreat on G3.


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