Young patients are set to receive some visitors with a difference this week when a team of superheroes swoop onto the wards at Southampton Children’s Hospital.
The visits will form part of a series of fun-filled events to mark national Play in Hospital Week (9 to 15 October), which will also see the healthcare play specialist and youth team run a variety of activities, including design-your-own superhero costume, story-telling and face-painting.
Among the superhero mascots set to attend throughout the week will be the Pets as Therapy dogs, who will be swapping their visiting uniforms for capes as they transform into fictional characters of the canine variety.
In addition, the play team will raise awareness of the value of play for young people and giving an insight into the preparation and distraction items used to soften the hospital experience, including the novel debilitating fears clinic.
Play specialists work closely with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s clinicians and other staff to help children and young people cope with illness, to understand why they are in hospital and assist clinicians in assessment and diagnosis.
Fiona Delement, healthcare play specialist, said: “We’re delighted to be taking part in this year’s event as the superhero theme is something we know will make for a really fun and entertaining week.
“It also gives us the opportunity to talk to patients, visitors and fellow staff about our role and how we work alongside doctors and nurses to reduce the length of time children spend in hospital.”
She added: “Play is vital for our young patients as not only does it help to continue with their learning and development while in hospital, it also acts as an avenue for children to express their fears through the medium of play.”
The event will be run in partnership with Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – part of Southampton Hospital Charity – and will see the play team aim to raise funds for craft packs and other entertainment equipment for the wards.
Ms Delement added: “As well as providing fun events and activities for our patients, the week also gives us a chance to highlight the work of our charity in helping us to enhance services and facilities throughout the hospital.
“We’d like to thank all our supporters who help with fundraising activities as, without their invaluable support, we wouldn’t be able to fund the additional extras which help to give our patients the best possible experience at what can be very difficult times.”
For more information visit www.southamptonhospitalcharity.org/Southampton-Childrens-Hospital-Charity.