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Young patients celebrate everyday heroes

Young patients at Southampton Children’s Hospital are set to celebrate their ‘everyday heroes’ during a fun-filled week of activities from today (Monday 8 October).

Whether it is mum or dad, a brother or sister, a teacher or their favourite member of staff, patients will spend time drawing, writing stories, discussing and making props that resemble the people they look up to.

The initiative forms part of National Play in Hospital Week, which is organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS) and supported by charity Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Among the other events planned are sensory activities including interactive games and visual stimulation exercises, arts and crafts and an opportunity for patients and parents to find out more about the work of the healthcare play team.

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

Play specialists work closely with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s clinicians and other staff to help children and young people cope with illness, to understand why they are in hospital and assist clinicians in assessment and diagnosis.

Fiona Delement, healthcare play specialist, said: “National Play in Hospital Week is always a great way to raise awareness and highlight the positive impact that play can have on young patients.

“Research has demonstrated the importance of play in hospital, both in preparing children for treatment and providing ways for them to work through anxieties and fears and deal with their experiences.

“This year will be particularly enjoyable as we will get the chance to hear children talk about the everyday people in their lives who make a real difference to them and tie that in with some fun activities.” 

The week will also highlight the role of Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – part of Southampton Hospital Charity – in supporting the play team through funding craft packs and other entertainment equipment across the wards.

Suzie Simmons, Head of Fundraising for Southampton Children's Hospital Charity, comments: "Play is such an incredibly important part of a child's life, and so it is important for both our long and short term patients to be able to have the experiences our play specialists provide.

As well as funding craft materials, we also provide science days, creepy crawly visits, theatre workshops, and have even bought an animatronic dinosaur in to see patients previously! They help the children be children again by encouraging play, and turn the hospital environment into one which is less daunting for some of our youngest patients."

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Quote: YOUTH & PLAY. 

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