“Real life superheroes” recognised for work in healthcare with charity awards

This article was originally published on londondaily.new.

Our annual Starlight Health Play Awards took place at the Bluebird in Chelsea, London, where Kate Thornton presented three inspiring individuals with awards for their work in championing play for children in hospital.

The Health Play Specialist of the Year award went to Emily Hodgkins, from Oxford Children’s Hospital, who was nominated for her profound impact on children in the A&E department. Due to the fast-paced nature of the emergency department, Emily has to react quickly to implement techniques that relax the children and help manage their pain.

Speaking about the impact of this award, Emily said: “A child’s first experience in hospital can be traumatic and shape their perception of hospitals for life. So, receiving this award is an opportunity to spread awareness about our role and how we can positively impact a child's experience.”

Kate Thornton, TV Presenter, said: “It was such a privilege to host the Starlight Health Play Awards and shine a light on the inspiring work the winners do for children in hospitals and hospices. Every day they work to ensure children experience the power of play, boosting their physical and mental health during treatment and recovery from illness. I’m so glad they’ve got the recognition they deserve.”

Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of Starlight, said: “The healthcare professionals that were recognised at the awards are our real life superheroes. They help children overcome the trauma and anxiety they feel when admitted to hospital and give them a voice in a high stress environment. Hospital and hospices can be scary places; play makes it better. They are all truly inspirational.”

Our latest report, ‘Reducing Trauma for Children in Healthcare’, highlights the trauma children experience throughout treatment and procedures in hospital. The new data in this report reveals that play, with the support of health play specialists, can mitigate that trauma, however, there are significant gaps across the country.