Play specialist helps to Make it Better for patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital

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Play specialist Kevin Hartsorn knows the benefits an extension at Sheffield Children’s Hospital will bring to patients and their families.

Funded through The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Make it Better appeal, work is currently under way to provide additional indoor and outdoor space at the hospital.

Play specialist Kevin Hartsorn entertains patient Kai Diawne at Sheffield Children's Hospital

Play specialist Kevin Hartsorn entertains patient Kai Diawne at Sheffield Children's Hospital

Kevin, who has been a play specialist for 10 years, helping prepare children for procedures they face and rehabilitating them during and after their treatment.

He said: “My role includes distraction work to help distract patients from their procedures, or helping them cope with procedures, such as scans and operations, they face.

“I also do a lot of rehabilitation work to help get patients back to normality as soon as possible.

“We do this by building up skills they may have lost as a result of an injury, illness or procedure, or, for those who are in hospital for long periods of time, we build skills they have missed out on learning due to being poorly. For me this is the best part of the job – giving patients skills they can take away.”

Kevin can often be found entertaining children on the wards, helping patients take their mind off their illness or injury and enjoy playtime like any other child.

But while Kevin finds his job rewarding, it is not without its challenges.

Kevin said: “Unfortunately, there are children having end-of-life care which is difficult to handle.

“We try to give those patients the best possible experience we can while they are still with us.”

Witnessing patients and families on cramped wards day in and out, Kevin says single occupancy rooms, that will form part of the hospital’s extension, will be beneficial, as will new communal and outdoor spaces.

Kevin said: “Any additional funding we can get through appeals like Make it Better is beneficial to our patients and will enable us to improve a child’s stay in hospital.

“The single occupancy rooms in particular will make a massive difference by giving patients and their families extra privacy.”

Register for your Make it Better pack, download the form click here

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