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Play Is Good Medicine for Waikids

28 February 2014

Play Is Good Medicine for Waikids

Face painting, doll making and a Mad Hatters Tea Party are all happening at Waikato Hospital during the Hospital Play Specialist Awareness Week from 3-7 March.

The awareness week teaches staff, patients and their families how to work with children in hospitals while celebrating the benefits of play.

Hospital play specialists organise play programmes and assist play for children and adolescents who are receiving medical treatment, which helps reduce anxiety and fear.

Lisa Pearson, Serena Rogers, Suzanne Minns and Meenu Wadhwa make up the team of four Waikato DHB Waikids play specialists. All with a background in early childhood or knowledge in therapy, each play specialist works with children daily to make their experience at Waikato Hospital more positive.

“Therapeutic play can be effective in helping children cope with pain, unease and insecurity, gain skills lost through effects of illness and gain a greater understanding of medical conditions” said Meenu.

“A child may need rehabilitation for their arm and they won’t move it for a physiotherapist but as soon as we come along with balloons, they’ll move their arm to play with the balloons”.

“There is always a reason for the activities we do with the children”. The play specialists work alongside multi-disciplinary teams in the hospital to achieve a common goal for the child.

During the week other hospital departments are decorating calico dolls to reflect something a child may see in that department. These dolls will then be used by the play specialists as workable teaching tools for the children.

Hospital Play Specialist Awareness Week is now celebrated in various hospitals nationwide, reminding people that play is good medicine.

About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato:

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 373,220 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $1.2 billion and employs more than 6450 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB’s main provider of hospital and health services. It has six groups across five hospital sites, three primary birthing units, two continuing care facilities and 20 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

A wide range of independent providers deliver other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories.


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