Social distancing becomes child’s play

The Children’s Clinic at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has received new toys and consoles as they adapt to social distancing guidelines.

Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, provided £4,687.30 worth of funding to purchase fun and engaging toys for the Children’s areas, including two mobile medical gaming carts installed with the latest consoles.

Unfortunately, one of the big changes to the Children’s Clinic meant removing the soft play area so that more seating could be added to accommodate for social distancing.

Leanne Lamb, a Health Play Specialist, explains the difference toys can make to children and young people visiting the clinic.

“One of my roles is to make the Children’s Clinic less clinical and more of an inviting and friendly space, so to see it so bare is very strange. I had to think of new ways and new ideas to make it as enjoyable as possible whilst children are waiting for tests/ investigations.”

This is when Blue Skies got involved and purchased the gaming carts which will aid social distancing but will also bring some welcome entertainment.

Leanne said: “These RockinR Consoles will definitely go a long way to help minimise the effects of stress and anxiety for the children. They will hopefully make coming into the hospital for appointments less daunting and offer a distraction and give the children or young person some sense of normality.”

Meanwhile, upstairs in the Children’s Ward, the staff there were also facing the impacts of Covid-19.

Rosanne Norman, a Play Specialist, said: “Our play service, like many others, has had to adapt to these strange times we are in. For the foreseeable future we’ve had to close the doors to our fantastic playroom which makes us very sad but it’s understandable that it has to happen.”

The pressure and uncertainty of the pandemic can make some patients nervous, and Rosanne adds that this new environment can increase anxiety.

But like the clinic, they modified the Ward and approached Blue Skies with a wish list of items, including; new dolls and dolls pram, crayons and colouring books, play kitchen and a drawing tablet.

Rosanne continued, saying: “Play Therapy is so important but we were finding that our resources were being very stretched, but through this amazing delivery we now have more to offer which certainly put big smiles on children faces.”