About the GOSH Play team
Play is important for all children – it’s a normal, fun and a familiar part of a child’s life. For the patients who come to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) from all over the UK, play has a vital role in giving them a more positive experience of their hospital stay and involves them in decisions about their care.
Play at GOSH
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) funds a team of 51 play workers and play specialists who help around 300–400 children and families each day.
The team, made up of both play workers and play specialists, bring fun into the hospital while helping to ease fears and concerns. They let children be children, helping them to feel comfortable and relaxed, while working with them to prepare for life-saving treatment and surgery. They use techniques such as role play, drawing and practising their procedures on toys to enable the children to gain mastery and control over their treatment.
By helping to build confidence and understanding, the Play team’s work helps to empower children to have some choice and control of their hospital experience.
Emily and Luke's story
Emily and Luke are patients on Leopard Ward, both born with cystic fibrosis. They visit GOSH two weeks at a time for monitoring and treatment to help them manage life with the condition. While they're on Leopard Ward, Play Specialist Lizzie helps make being at hospital more comfortable and exciting, like a home away from home. Here's why the Play team are so important to them.
"The Play team at GOSH turn negatives into positives and add some giggles when there are difficult things like blood tests. They always help by distracting you with fun things and make being at hospital not so bad.", says Emily. "Lizzie is my favourite, of course. We're twins because we both have curly hair and we're both crazy! She's really special, and GOSH wouldn't be the same without her. We laugh a lot together and she always has something to do. She's the medicine that makes me better!"
Luke says "GOSH is a good place and I like going there. I like that the play team make the waiting part not so long with fun things and toys. Lizzie is always there, and I like her a lot".
Juliet, Luke and Emily's mum, adds "Lizzie is always quietly coming up with things to make Luke and Emily's experience of the hospital not just bearable, but also fun and exciting. She's also often by their side when they've gone through difficult procedures. She helps them laugh through the pain. She truly cares about both my children and their futures- she's on this journey with us."