An extended stay in the hospital is traumatic for anyone. For children, it is especially so. As noted in an article on Psychlopaedia, children admitted to hospital can experience trauma, not just from their injury but from the experience. Research shows about 10 to 15 per cent of children who are admitted to hospital after sustaining an injury develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while for those admitted to areas such as the intensive care unit (ICU), the rate of psychological disorder in children is much higher – in the order of 20-25 per cent. Learn more in this informative pamphlet.
For sure, going to the hospital is stressful. For kids, and maybe adults too, one of the things that has proven to help is play. Yep, engaging in some simple fun and games.
CHOP: Play and recreation are a natural part of childhood, and vital to normal development. Children are able to learn, master experiences, express themselves, cope with anxiety, create, achieve, and develop skills through play and recreational activity.
Play also helps children learn to adapt to the healthcare experience. Play and recreation can be therapeutic by giving children the opportunity to explore, express and process their healthcare experiences in a safe, non-threatening environment.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.
It’s been proven that when children have play opportunities that they need less medicine, less anesthesia, are more compliant and get better faster. The benefits of play reach beyond the child to assist medical personnel and influence the hospital’s bottom line.” Play is powerful and can be tailored towards the child’s individual age, temperament and tastes.
Kids Health: Play is familiar and reassuring. It’s how children make sense of the world around them. In hospital, it helps children to learn and develop, and to feel less anxious. It helps them to express their feelings and worries, understand what is happening and cope with treatment. It provides an opportunity for your child to make choices so that they can have a sense of some control.
The non-profit, Child’s Play, improves the lives of children through the power of play. Child’s Play is a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and teens in children’s hospitals around the world. Child’s Play currently has a network of over 180 children’s hospitals worldwide as well as nearly 200 domestic violence shelters across the United States. Watch their one minute YouTube Video.