This year during National Play in Hospital Week we wanted to shine a light on the outstanding bravery and resilience shown by children in hospital through our Little Star Stories. The stories from our Little Stars give a glimpse at how incredible the power of play as part of hospital treatment can be. So let’s meet our 2020 stars….
When sporty Vienna broke her elbow, resulting in a below elbow amputation, her life was turned upside down. Despite the fact she is in and out of hospital, and the huge psychological and physical mountain ahead of her, her Play Team are there with arts and crafts to distract from the pain, giving her the opportunity to work through her emotions with someone not connected to the trauma.
Bolstered by the support of her Play Team and determined not to let her injury get the better of her, Vienna has been working on creating art to decorate her room and is already looking into the 2028 Olympics.
Diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, and CVA stroke, thirteen-year-old Celestine is non-mobile and uses a wheelchair. At the start of Celestine’s treatment, it would take over two hours to prepare because she was so scared. However her Health Play Specialist began using a series of distraction techniques to help Celestine’s anxiety. These included playing on an iPad, listening to music, relaxing breathing techniques, and even just a good chat.
With the unwavering support of her family, and Play Specialist Michelle, they reached an incredible stage where Celestine only needed about 10-20 mins to prepare for treatment!
Three-year-old Wren, who was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, has always enjoyed playing and through all her hospital visits and home treatments it has been a huge distraction for her. Even when she has been very poorly, she has always taken comfort from the playrooms. Health Play Specialists have been an essential part of making her time in hospital more bearable.
Through small world play and role play Wren’s parents and her Health Play Specialist Dianne have all worked with Wren to reduce her fears. Dressing up in her nurses costume and using her doctor’s set has allowed Wren to act out treatments and procedures on family and her toys, and through play Wren has overcome each of these hurdles.
Finally, we have five-year-old Lillian New. Lillian had an incredible journey guided by her Health Play Specialist, from refusing to get out the car at the hospital to happily coming in and having observations done.
Lillian particularly found wearing her anaesthetic mask challenging and distressing throughout treatment. However, after her ‘Pets as Therapy’ dog, Leo, wore one, she soon followed suit and overcame her fears!