How Play Spaces Help Hospitalized Children Heal

Photo credit: PLAYTIME

From the doctors and nurses to the front-desk staff and decision makers, professionals in children’s hospitals and medical centers go above and beyond to help their young patients. However, there is one thing many of these centers miss: designated play spaces. Adding these spaces can help younger patients heal both emotionally and physically.

In addition to being a great distraction from the rigors of hospital life, play can be a vital part of a child’s recovery. Through playtime, children can work through their illness-related anxieties, build fitter bodies, develop healthy emotions, and live life as any other kid.

Heal Anxiety and Trauma

Being ill and needing hospitalization can be stressful for even the most well-rounded of adults, but more so for children. The abrupt change in life can cause anxiety and even emotional trauma. A recent study found that play can alleviate these side effects. In fact, therapeutic play and play therapy can be significantly beneficial for pre-operative children or those undergoing cancer treatments. The researchers also noted that children with life-threatening health issues have more severe and acute stress, which means they may need to play the most. It’s essential that health professionals do not disregard the importance of play due to the severity of a child’s condition.

Promote Physical Health

Between all the injections, blood tests, IVs, and pills, it can be easy to overlook the basic building blocks of being healthy. Just like adults, children need exercise to be fit and strong. Play can build bone density, help develop muscles, and even keep diabetes at bay. Furthermore, children can see increased lung and heart function. While grown-ups may hit the treadmill for improved fitness, kids turn to the playground. Sure, they may look happier than adults on the elliptical machine, but kids at play put in hard work.

Social Development

Play isn’t just about healing that which illness or trauma takes; it is a vital part of growing up. Through play, children develop self-esteem and the social skills necessary to become a productive member of society. If the goal is to help the patient thrive beyond the walls of the hospital, then play must be an indispensable part of the treatment.

Live Life as a Kid

For kids, hospitalization requires them to pause vital aspects of their childhood. They may miss school, spend time away from their friends, and even miss essential family functions. Allowing children to play on a playground can restore some part of their childhood.

PLAYTIME’s Director of Business Development, Jeff Williamson, summed it up when he said, “When children are sick in the hospital, their usual routines are disrupted, and they may be separated from their family and other familiar people for periods of time. Being able to play while in a hospital means that children can continue an aspect of their normal life.”

When children need to spend time in a medical facility, they can become frightened and traumatized. A well-made play space can help these patients develop emotionally, physically, and socially. Best of all, it gives back a piece of the life that all children deserve.

PLAYTIME is proud to work with healthcare organizations to make spaces that immerse children in play. All playgrounds follow ASTM guidelines and are naturally antibacterial. Learn more about how we can design, build, and install such a play space in your facility.

Read more at playtime.com

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