About the Play department

The Play service at Great Ormond Street Hospital supports opportunities for children and young people to play while they are receiving healthcare. The team are experts in specialised and therapeutic play for children and young people which can be accessed both during outpatient clinics and on the wards.

According to Article 31 and general comment (GC) 17 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), all children and young people have a right to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts. Play’s characteristics as defined in general comment (GC) 17 are: ‘fun, uncertainty, challenge, flexibility and non-productivity; it is a fundamental and vital dimension of the pleasure of childhood; it is an essential component of physical, social cognitive, emotional and spiritual development’.

Through playful engagement and exploration we can support children and young people to settle in and to make sense of what is happening in their treatment/intervention. Playworkers will support children and young people to access play materials and Play specialists use playful methods for preparation, distraction and post-procedural play.

Preparation can involve dolls, creativity and books to prepare children for a specific procedures, helping them to understand what the procedure will be like. Distraction techniques aim to take their attention away from treatments and procedures while they are happening, and assessment allows play staff to develop a play programme for children to reach goals during their hospital admission.

Watch this video to find out more information about the hospital play specialists and find out how important play is to the patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

If the video is not showing, please watch it on YouTube