Meet Chloe, a play specialist in the CRF
Our play team organises lots of fun activities to keep the children and young people who visit the Clinical Research Facility busy and relaxed. One of our play specialists, Chloe, tells us more about her role and why she loves working at the hospital.
"The best part of working here at GOSH is that it’s really fun! I’m covered in glitter a lot of the time; what more could you want? The team are really friendly as well and they have been very welcoming. I also love building a relationship with the children. Many of them come back regularly, whether that’s once a week or once a month.
"I’d say the biggest challenge is if you’re doing an activity and the child’s happy and enjoying themselves and then something has to happen to them like an injection, which they may not want. It’s not very nice to see them going from being so happy to being upset. It can be hard to get the child back to the fun place afterwards as well, but that is a very important part of our job to be there to support them through it all.
"My fondest memory of working at the hospital is when the children make you things, like the crown I’m wearing in the photo. Also, when they do stuff at home and bring it in for you it’s really sweet, and shows you’ve had an impact on their hospital experience. I was recently sat with a little girl who was having an injection and I was helping her with her deep breathing to stay calm. Her mum said 'can we take you home, we need you when she has her injections'."
Play specialists at GOSH
The play team is very child-focused and is often the link between home and the hospital. After getting to know each child and family individually, the team will work to create a happy and fun environment that is tailored to the needs of each child. They also help the patient’s family and siblings to cope with the experience of a loved one in hospital.
All wards have their own play workers and dedicated play rooms. Every morning, a play worker visits children on the ward and makes sure there’s lots planned to keep everyone busy. The team will also arrange celebrations for birthdays so that patients don’t miss out just because they are in hospital.
Dealing with worries and fears
Play can help children deal with fears or worries about hospital, their illness or treatment. If a child has a procedure or operation coming up, a play specialist will do some preparation and distraction therapy with them to teach them ways of coping with a difficult or painful procedure, like a blood test or dressing change. Play specialists might use dolls to help explain the procedure to the child.