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Play therapy

Play is accepted as vital to healthy growth and development and a natural part of childhood which enables children to explore and make sense of the world they live in.

For children and young people who undergo medical and surgical procedures, access to play carries greater significance.

Health play specialists use play as a therapeutic tool for children and young people who are inpatients or outpatients in hospitals, hospices and other community settings.

Poole Hospital has three play specialists, one full time and two part time, working in the children’s unit and the child development centre.

Within the children’s unit there are a number of designated areas for play and recreational activities, including two playrooms, an activity room for teenagers and a sensory room.

Typically, our play specialists' work involves:

  • organising daily play services in the playroom, at the bedside, in isolation cubicles, clinics and any other area where a sick child may require treatment
  • providing play to maintain developmental goals and avoid regression
  • helping children deal with fear and anxiety by making sense of frightening and unfamiliar experiences
  • using play to prepare children for invasive or painful procedures
  • helping children cope with pain
  • using play and alternative focus activities to help distract and calm children during procedures
  • helping children regain skills lost through the effects of illness or hospitalisation
  • supporting families including siblings through a family centred approach to care
  • contributing to clinical judgements through documentation and through their observations
  • advising parents, carers and staff on appropriate play for sick and injured children

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Just for kids!

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Just for kids!

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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