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Celebrating Play in Hospital Week

Staff members holding sign saying

9 October 2023

Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) is celebrating Play in Hospital Week, spotlighting our excellent Play Service team. Play in Hospital Week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of play in the treatment of poorly children across the UK.

Encouraging play in hospital can have a transformational effect on children and their families. It can enable them to have a more positive experience of hospital, reducing the anxiety, fear and stress associated with being in hospital.  

Our team of Play Specialists and assistants work with medical and nursing staff to help children and young people get ready for procedures, treatments, and surgery. The team provide play, recreation, and activities to help with patient development, relieve boredom, help with recovery, and create a child-friendly environment.

Karen Thomas, Head of Therapeutic Play at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Play is arguably the most authentic expression of identity, the essence of who we are. Play is how children investigate the world and explore their place in it, what they think about, and what matters to them. It is where children can be free to express all of their complex feelings.

“Play is a vital way children gain understanding of their treatment, a sense of autonomy and control; it is an important way to express thoughts and feelings in a healthcare setting. The capabilities that children naturally use and develop through play, such as emotional flexibility, risk awareness and adaptability, are also the very qualities that can most support their positive experience of healthcare.”

Through building a relationship with each child and young person, the team helps to build a relationship and encourage confidence within the children to go ahead with treatments and procedures.

The Health Board is grateful to this team for enabling all children and young people throughout our three counties, to have their right to play protected and provided for when they are in our care.