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Hospital celebrates during National Play in Hospital Week

Posted: 3 October 2016
Kelly White, Senior Communications Officer

Young patients and staff on Starfish and Safari Children’s wards at Watford Hospital, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, have been celebrating National Play in Hospital Week with crafts, magic tricks, balloon artists and a variety of messy play activities.

Picture of a nurse and a childThe week, which ran from Monday 26 September to Sunday 2 October, was organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists and is supported by Starlight Children’s Foundation, a national charity that provides entertainment in hospitals and hospices across the UK.

The week is celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of play and activity in the treatment of poorly children and young people. This year, the week had the theme of ‘Play Matters’.

Karen Raney-Marr, who is a Play Specialist in Starfish Ward said: "Play is a vital part of the care we offer to children and young people in hospital. I work with children to help them understand what to expect and how to cope. A very important part of our role is to help children to regain skills that they might have lost through illness or injury and our specialist training in child development is key to this.”

Saleena Gulamhussein, who is a Play Specialist in Safari Day Unit, said: "Many children get extremely anxious at the thought of having blood tests. I work with children to explain the procedure and use play to express the importance of keeping still. I work with the parent and child to plan the best way to proceed and we put together a strategy for distraction during the test.”

Shannon Lemmber, mum of six-year old Brody, said: "Saleena demonstrates in very simple terms what the process would be when my son has a blood test. He went in for his blood test feeling so much more at ease and calmer.”

Becky Platt, Matron for Children’s Services said: "Play is a crucial part of the care we offer to children and young people and this week has been an excellent opportunity for us to show the positive impact of play on a child’s experience while in hospital. It has also been great fun for our young patients, their families and our staff and I hope our activities throughout the week have helped to raise awareness of the importance of play.”

For more information on National Play in Hospital Week, please visit: www.starlight.org.uk/latest-news/national-play-in-hospital-week-2016


For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our near 5,324 followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).

  1. For more information, please contact Kelly White, Senior Communications Officer in the Trust’s communications department on telephone: 01923 436 281 or email: info@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228 031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute trust serving people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three sites at Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals and sees about 600,000 patients a year. We are one of the largest employers locally, with around 4,500 staff and volunteers.