Paediatric Unit Welcomes Reopening of Play Space For Sick Children

24th April 2023

Young patients and their families are once again able to relax and have some much needed fun in the reopened playroom within Maynard Ward in the Ulster Hospital, after being closed for three years during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The reopening of the playroom will allow children and young people to use the space to express and explore feelings associated with treatment in healthcare settings. It gives our patients, their families and staff the chance to enjoy an array of fun-filled and therapeutic activities. Play is such a vital part of the care which the Health Play Specialists offer children and young people of the Ulster Hospital. Play can help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and fear which can be associated with being in hospital and can reduce a child’s feeling of pain associated with hospital treatment.

Health Play Specialist, Sharon Pauley who was involved with the reopening said, “We are delighted to reopen our Maynard Sinclair playroom after it was closed for just under three years.  During this time, the Health Play Specialists really missed not having the communal play area, so individual play kits were provided to the children, young people and their families at the beside, in order to ensure they still had normalised and therapeutic play activities and lots of preparation for their procedures through play.

“Our play areas are like a safe haven, a place where it is free from medical intervention where they can come and relax and it helps to reduce their anxiety. It can also help to give them a more normalised experience while they are in a health care setting.”

Play can help build resilience which can help children become more engaged with their treatment, with play and distraction being incorporated into hospital treatment to reduce the need for sedation.