Why is play important?

27 Sep 2016

Update - 05/10/2016: The Play Team raised an amazing £1,059.22 from their Play Week bake sale - a fantastic total that will provide a big boost in their care for children. Read on to see about their crucial work.

Anyone who’s stayed in hospital knows that uncomfortable medical procedures, noisy and unfamiliar wards and feeling unwell create an anxious time for any adult.

A staff member saying why #PlayMatters A patient saying why #PlayMatters A parent saying why #PlayMatters A patient painting with the Play Team

But for a child, it can be simply terrifying.

This week, 26 Sept–2 Oct, is National Play in Hospital Week. It’s an opportunity to put a spotlight on a hospital service that is crucial in helping to keep children as happy as possible while in hospital.

Play has the power to fundamentally transform the way young patients – and their families – experience hospital, and especially chronic or terminal illness.

The Play Team, a specialist trained hospital team, help children to find the power to face intimidating procedures. They also help them to understand their illness, and ensure that they can have the time and space to just be children and have fun.

Whether it’s helping premature babies reach developmental milestones, to ensuring children are engaged during a long hospital stay, to helping teenagers come to terms with an illness: the work of the Play Team is vital.

Most of their activities are charitably funded. Tara Shea is Play Team Leader at The Royal London Hospital and has been working with us to help more children cope better with their time in hospital:

“It’s only with the help of donations that we can have children’s entertainers and themed parties, arts and crafts days, as well as specialised resources such as dolls that help explain chemotherapy and other treatments to our patients.

“These all have a huge impact on a child’s stay in hospital and wouldn’t be possible without our fund. It’s turned “cannot” into “can”.”

The Play Team help more than 50 children every day – that’s thousands during a year.

With your support, they can do more. You can donate to help a child cope better while in hospital – and have a few smiles along the way. Just type "Play Team" when prompted on our donation form.

And check out our Twitter feed this National Play in Hospital Week, where we’ll be sharing some pictures of why #PlayMatters to children, families and hospital staff.

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