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Young patients have some serious fun at the 'circus' during National Play in Hospital Week

Balloon release crowd 

Youngsters on the children’s wards at Morriston Hospital are getting up to some seriously good fun at the “Cirque du Paediatrics” at the start of national Play in Hospital Week.

The corner of the paediatric assessment unit has been temporarily transformed into a carnival themed play area.

It includes circus games and a photo booth and party hats, which can be used by the patients across the hospital’s wards.

It was officially launched on Monday morning with environmentally friendly balloons that the children and staff released to mark the beginning of Play in Hospital Week.

This is organised by Starlight, the charity for children’s play in healthcare, and the National Association of Health Play Specialists.

The aim is to support children to experience the power of play to boost their wellbeing during treatment, and the theme for this year is Play for Resilience and Good Mental Health.

Crowd in decorated corridor 

It also coincides with World Mental Health Day on Tuesday, October 10th, which highlights the importance of play for everyone’s health.

Children’s services developmental and therapeutic play specialist Lisa Morgan said: “We celebrate the importance of play in hospital every day.

“However this week gives us the opportunity to highlight its value to children, young people and their families when admitted to hospital. 

“We thought of this theme as it’s fun, colourful and inclusive for everyone, we can even take the games to the bedside for the children if they cannot join us in the circus area.

“Games include hook a fish, tin can alley, beanbag toss, foam darts, skittles, buzz game, spinning plates, and throw a hoopla. There is also a circus themed photo booth to capture all the smiles and laughter.

“Alongside the circus games, we will be able to provide the children with a fun filled week of activities, such as arts and crafts, face painting, sweet shop, popcorn, and hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Patient playing 

“We will have visits with thanks to Crazy Characters company from Swansea, our resident therapy dog Olga, storyteller Michael, balloon modelling with Jodie from Purple Parties Ltd, and Joe’s ice-cream will provide ice-creams for everyone too.

“We hope that everyone that takes part in the will leave with a smile on their face, after having lots of fun at the circus. 

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped us in creating this event and thank you to my play team for bringing the circus to the wards.”

Starlight advocates for more and better health play services and promotes the full recognition of health play practitioners as an integral component of the children’s health workplace.

The charity says evidence shows play opportunities in healthcare settings reduce the fear and distress that many children feel, by helping to take their mind off their treatment, while health play specialists’ support can mitigate the pain and trauma of treatment, in addition to creating economic benefits for the NHS.

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