National Play in Hospital Week 2021

What is National Play in Hospital Week?

National Play in Hospital Week 2021 is a week dedicated to celebrating the magic of play in hospitals and all dedicated play specialists who help make that happen.

The week also aims to raise awareness of the mental and physical benefits of play and how it can greatly boost the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of children and young adults who receive long term care in hospital settings.


What are the Origins of the Celebration?

National Play in Hospital Week started back in 2010 when the National Association of Health Play Specialists (NAHPS) decided to raise awareness of their cause ‘to promote and ensure the provision of therapeutic and stimulating play facilities in healthcare’.

Just under 50,000 children in the UK have a life-limiting or life-threatening illness, and they will likely need regular trips to the hospital for important treatments and appointments. Hospital play services are essential to help make those trips as manageable as possible, dispelling anxiety and inspiring bravery.


The Benefits of Play in Hospitals

Play is usually written off as something fun. But its benefits are wide-reaching. As Cathy Gilman, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation, explains, “Play isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’, it’s an essential service for maintaining the wellbeing and development of children and young people before and after treatment.”

Benefits of Play in Hospital:

  • Play helps children learn more about their health and understand why they’re in hospital and what their treatments are for, empowering their time in care.
  • Play reduces anxiety, fear and stress surrounding hospitals, improving children’s wellbeing.
  • Play can help to reduce the pain associated with hospital treatments.
  • Play can give children a sense of control and help them feel as though they have some autonomy – something that’s typically lost through illness and hospitalisation.


National Play in Hospital Week 2021: Playing through the Pandemic – a Narrative of Positive Interventions (11-17th October)

With the plight of the pandemic putting a strain on resources, services and limiting the amount of support patients can have in hospitals – play has never been more important!

This year NAHPS are dedicating Hospital Play week to the Hospital Play Specialists who have worked tirelessly to ensure that play has been kept at the heart of their work during the pandemic.


Rhino & Hospital Play

During the pandemic, our sensory team have worked hard to ensure that hospital play teams could access the resources they needed to make play possible.

One of the most popular resources has been our all-in-one sensory dream machine – the Sensory Voyager. Every voyager is portable, practical and infection control friendly, wheeling from room to deliver joy, distraction, and big smiles to patients in need.

We’d like to celebrate National Play in Hospital Week by sharing pictures from this year’s voyager deliveries and giving a big shout out to the NHS Heroes who’ve been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic!

Lister Hospital Safe Space Room Portsmouth Hospital Paediatrics Emergency Department St Mary's Hospital Paediatric Department


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