Singing, music, art and lots of laughter was just the medicine for youngsters on the Children’s Ward at the Royal United Hospital’s Bath NHS Foundation Trust as patients and staff joined together to celebrate National Play in Hospital Week 2019.

Held each year, the week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of play and activity in the treatment of sick children and young people. This year’s theme was ‘play for all’, which celebrated the variety of different types of play available for young people in hospital.
Events on the ward included singing and music-making with the RUH’s ‘musician in residence’ Frankie Simpkins, laughs and jokes with a visit from the Giggle Doctor, arts and crafts with artist Edwina Bridgeman and even a visit from Pets As Therapy dog Fudge, with his owner Martin Fricker.

RUH Play Specialist, Lyn Gardiner, said, “When children and young people are admitted to hospital, they are often at their most vulnerable and play can help them adjust to what can be a stressful situation. At the RUH we’ve found that play creates an environment which reduces stress and anxiety and helps our young patients cope with their illness and recover more quickly. It’s been a great week and it’s fantastic to see the children and their patients with smiles on their faces.”

Paediatric Matron, Beverley Boyd, added, “We always have lots happening on the ward to keep patients occupied, but Play in Hospital Week gives us a great opportunity to showcase all the different types of play activities we provide. Our play specialists are valuable and essential members of the paediatric team.”

National Play in Hospital Week is 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.