We work closely with the whole family and many health professionals, both inside and outside the hospital.
We also provide teaching, training and mentorship training for Health Play Specialist Degree students and many other students and professional visitors.
We offer a patient referral system to help many children and teenagers who are attending RMCH and other Trust hospitals/services who have additional or special needs, fears, autism or are unsure of the hospital environment and require further help and support.
These referrals (via email@example.com ) come from doctors, surgeons, pre-admission nurses, ward or department nurses, anaesthetists, paediatricians/GPs, disability nurses, psychologists and allied health professionals such as physios. Parents, health professionals and students can also contact our department for advice, guidance and information – telephone 0161 701 0698.
We also offer a Health Play Specialist ‘on call’ system. This helps patients, when possible, who require our input at short notice, if the Health Play Specialist linked to their ward/department area is not available at the time or with another patient.
We provide play, recreation and activities to assist patient development, relieve boredom, aid recovery and create a child and young person friendly environment – leading to a positive ethos and a good patient experience.
Our team assists medical and nursing staff by helping patients to prepare for procedures, treatments and surgery. We also offer distraction, diversional and participation therapies for patients undergoing procedures and treatments, with support and guidance to families and staff too.
Our service also plans to provide a positive patient experience and environment working in partnership with other services, wards and departments. The team ensures there is a variety of events and visitors throughout the year – which increases during December! We work very closely with the hospital charity team to provide a range of special events and visits for patients, families and staff.
Watch this video to find out more about what we do.
Parents and carers can find out more about developmental play, therapeutic play and specialised play at these links.
When children and young people have life-limiting illnesses, we also work closely with other colleagues to provide the best possible end of life care and support everyone in the family.
Health Play Specialists prepare or distract patients getting ready for procedures and surgery on the ward or department, via the referral system and the on call bleep system. They also participate in developmental and therapeutic play working closely with the Play Leaders and are involved in patient experience and many events/ celebrations too.
Our Health Play Specialists also help to run the Youth Forum, which patients can join to share their views about hospital care and health issues for children and young people.
Play Leaders aim to meet each patient’s needs and work closely with Health Play Specialists and the multi-disciplinary team. They provide development and therapeutic play, help patients to become familiar with hospital and offer some distraction/participation therapies. They also set up rooms, equipment and activities for patients.
- Sensory Rooms, which offer children of all ages the opportunity to chill out, provide stimulation and aid development away from noisy and busy wards.
- Psychological Preparation Rooms, which can help children prepare for operations and other procedures using a variety of equipment, tools and methods to meet individual needs. Health Play Specialists also use the rooms to work with children recovering from trauma or surgery.
- Teen Zone, an area for teenagers with computer stations, a pool table and casual seating areas.
- Rooftop play area and sensory garden, a partly covered space where patients and their families can enjoy playing games, sitting outdoors and see and smell flowers and herbs. (Sessions are booked via play staff.)
- Boulevard garden, a special place created by top gardener Alan Titchmarsh and his team for our patients and staff, with areas for children and young people plus our special Manchester bee!
- Play rooms, teenager rooms on wards and play areas in departments all enable children and teenagers to continue developing and having fun.
Making your stay in hospital better
We can arrange ward and department visits from our special friends the Theodora Giggle Doctors Entertainers, Magic Makers Entertainers, Captain Starlight Entertainers and POD Entertainers. We also have some fabulous Pets as Therapy dogs. Watch a video about Alfie, one of our regular PAT dog visitors at RMCH.
Getting involved in arts, craft and music is also a good way to forget about being in hospital for a while. There are lots of arts activities going on across the hospital every day, plus regular visits from the Music for Health team (LIME) and musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music. Singers, dancers and theatre groups come in throughout the year and we organise many events and parties.
If you like to listen to and share stories, the ReadWell and Readathon programmes visit our wards regularly. We also link with the Hospital School, with a great team of staff who will help you to keep up with your school work.
And we don’t forget about parents and carers! They can take part in parent pamper sessions, provided by the League of Jewish Women, which offer hand massages, manicures and a bit of down time. Parents and carers also have access to the facilities at Ronald McDonald House on our Oxford Road campus.
Supporting patients with disabilities
Our team has extensive experience of caring for children and young people with autism and their families.
We can also help if you need support with visual or hearing impairment, and our hospital is accessible for wheelchair users.
Children and young people are usually referred to our team by hospital staff, their GP, consultant or other health professionals. However, we are always happy to proved advice and information to parents and carers.
Therapeutic and Specialised Play Centre – tel: 0161 701 0698
- Award Winners ‘Outstanding Achievement ‘ Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
- Award Winners ‘Support Team of the Year’ Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Award Highly Commended – We’re Proud of You’– Innovation, Improvement and Efficiency.
- Award Finalists PEN National Awards – Patient Experience Network National Award: Environment of Care.