Play and youth services 


  • I can truly say that having the play specialist on the ward helped with my daughter’s recovery

  • The play specialist helped me forget about my pain

  • Having the playroom open 24/7 is a fantastic resource, especially if my child is unsettled in the evening

  • When I came here I was slightly scared because I had never been to hospital before. If the rec room, and especially the activity co-ordinators weren’t here, I wouldn’t have improved so much

  • You have supported me when I was upset and when I was happy so thank you

  • Thank you for helping my stay at UCLH not be boring. Playing different games with you guys was a blast

  • About us

    The UCLH Play and Youth Services Team provide therapeutic, diagnostic, developmental and specialised play interventions to help support children and young people during their time at UCLH. 

    Play is an essential part of childhood and adolescence, as well as being essential for children’s and young people’s mental, social and emotional growth and well-being. This does not stop when they come to UCLH. The Play and Youth services team facilitates play throughout the various hospital settings and clinics ensuring the children’s and young people’s needs are met. 

    Our work includes:

    • Providing age and developmentally appropriate information through play preparation for potentially frightening and/or painful treatment.
    • Supporting our patients during invasive procedures by providing distraction therapy.
    • Being an advocate on behalf of the children and young people.
    • Providing peer group support.
    • Providing parental, sibling and extended family support.
    • Providing therapeutic interventions to support patients throughout their hospital journey.
    • Creating safe, welcoming and less frightening environments to paediatric and young person patients.
    • Providing a wide variety of play interventions and recreation to our paediatric and young person patients.
    • Teaching our peers and colleagues on appropriate play, communication and approaches for sick and injured children and young person.
    • Working cohesively with members of the nursing, medical and other staff groups, to provide family centred care.

    Through our work, the Play and Youth Services Team help children and young people become less anxious and more co-operative with their treatment, increase their understanding of the hospital environment around them and increases understanding of their health, illness and treatment.

Visit our homepage for children and young patients