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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Health Play Specialists

Health play specialists are qualified staff, registered with their accrediting organisation, the Health Play Specialist Examination Trust.

How can Health Play Specialists help your child?

The Health Play Specialists work on the Children's Unit, around the hospital and in the Child Development Centre. They use play as a therapeutic tool to support children and young people of all abilities who are either inpatients or outpatients aged 0 - 19 years.

The main roles of a health play specialist are to:

  • Prepare children and young people for medical procedures
  • Help children cope with pain
  • Use play to help distract and calm children during procedures
  • Help children regain skills lost through illness or hospitalisation
  • Support families through a family-centred approach to care
  • Contribute to clinical assessments through documentation and observations
  • Advise parents/carers/staff on play for sick and injured children (NAHPS.org.uk)

What is special about Play Specialists?

Their sessions are designed with each child and young person's interests, developmental ability and hospital experiences in mind. Play specialists work closely with the multi-disciplinary team to support positive experiences of hospital procedures.

How to refer your child to a Play Specialist

Play specialist support can help if your child is anxious about medical related procedures or investigations, like blood tests or having a scan.

Referrals can be made for play specialist input through your child’s consultant, nurse, or other health professionals i.e. speech and language therapist, physiotherapist.

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