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Superheroes airedaleYoung patients and staff at Airedale Hospital have been celebrating National Play in Hospital Week by meeting some everyday superheroes.
The week of events, which ran from Monday 8th–12th October, was organised by the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS) and supported by Starlight Children’s Foundation, a national charity which provides play and distraction services in hospitals and hospices across the UK.
National Play in Hospital Week was set up in 2010 to raise awareness of the positive impact of play on sick children and young people in a hospital setting.
Staff and children on the children’s unit at Airedale Hospital enjoyed a week of fun activities, including visits from the Police, Pets as therapy dog Skye, Superman, Bumblebee and a storm trooper.
With nearly 49,000 children and young people in the UK living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and 5,500 new diagnoses each year, the need for play and entertainment services for children in hospitals has never been greater. Research has highlighted the importance of play in hospital, both in preparing children for treatment and providing ways for them to work through and deal with their experiences.
At Airedale Hospital, play Specialist Katrina Embleton and Play Leader Karen Reece offer a 7 day service whereby staff can call on them to support and distract a child who may be afraid of needles or is having blood taken or help children who may be having an x-ray or need to have a plaster cast fitted and so need to be still for a length of time. The team also work with children who come to hospital regularly to help make their visits a more positive experience, helping to take away their fears and anxiety.
Katrina says:
“We always look forward to National Play in Hospital Week as both staff and patients enjoy it so much. It’s a celebration of play and about making hospitals fun and also emphasising the different types of distraction and activities that we do on the ward. Every child needs to play and that’s the normal thing for them, the children who are in hospital would all play if they were at home.”
Dr Hilary Cass (Senior Clinical Advisor for Children and Young People’s Health, Health Education England) and Patron of the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS) says “National Play in Hospital Week continues to be an important week in hospital calendars as it provides hospital, hospice and community team staff the opportunity to mark and celebrate the importance of their work and the impact that play and distraction brings in the treatment of poorly children and young people. We’re thrilled with the effort that staff in hospitals and hospices across the UK have put into making this year’s event a big success”.

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