Play Therapists Are Helping Children Cope With Life In The Hospital

Growing up is tough, but it’s even more challenging for kids who face unique medical needs. Spending large amounts of time in the hospital can be scary for children, and that’s before we factor in any necessary medical procedures.

The hospital is a place to receive medical treatment and therapies. It’s not a place where kids can really be kids and play to their fullest capabilities.

Photo: Pexels/Los Muertos Crew

But Play Therapists at the Canberra Hospital in Garran, Australia, are changing that.

Play therapists may not be able to take the children out of the hospital, but they can offer them a bit of childhood back through imaginary play and fun toys.

Play Therapist Larah Nicholls works at the Canberra Hospital and is making a huge impact on the children there. The Canberra Hospital Foundation shared on Facebook that Larah helps offer “distraction and amusement during what can often be a scary or unfamiliar time for the children.”

Paediatrics’ wonderful Play Therapist, Larah, is so thrilled with the amazing new Activity Trolley, which is filled to…

Posted by Canberra Hospital Foundation on Monday, November 19, 2018

In an interview with Riotact, Larah talked about how she uses a variety of toys and play methods to help children in the hospital. She said: “Anything we can do to lessen children’s anxiety to improve their medical experience will result in better outcomes for them.”

“I’m never too far from a pot of playdough, a bubble machine or teddy bear I can enact a pretend procedure on,” she said.

This morning the Canberra Hospital Foundation received a boot load of brand new toys for the Paediatric playroom, thanks…

Posted by Canberra Hospital Foundation on Monday, February 12, 2018

Beyond actually playing with children, Larah works to get kids comfortable with the idea of different procedures. She might use toys and play to explain otherwise scary topics. She meets the children where they are and works with them until they start feeling more comfortable and confident about what’s happening.

You can see Larah in action with some bubbles and a toy shark in the video below, courtesy of the Canberra Hospital Foundation:

Kalten and Larah

Put smiles on children's faces! Help fund vital programs like our play therapy program which minimises medical trauma and relieves stress and anxiety. Give today and have a powerful impact on children like

Posted by Canberra Hospital Foundation on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Hopefully the practice of having Play Therapists on staff becomes more widespread so children everywhere can reap the benefits.

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