Helping young patients through play 

14/05/2014 00:00 
The valuable work of UCLH play specialists in preparing children for what can be daunting hospital procedures was profiled this week on BBC Breakfast.
Patient Sasmit gives the thumbs up after his MRI scan 

A pilot scheme at University College Hospital is helping young people have a scan without being sedated, by teaching them about it through play.

"This pilot has been a fantastic example of how we can use play to support children to manage procedures and treatment without pharmaceutical interventions."A play specialist has been appointed to the imaging department and is helping patients like four-year-old Sasmit, who is featured in the BBC film to have their scans without requiring a general anaesthetic.

This saves the NHS money – approximately £1,000 per patient – and most importantly means that young patients do not have to be sedated which can be a daunting experience.

Irene O’Donnell, UCLH play services manager, said: “This pilot has been a fantastic example of how we can use play to support children to manage procedures and treatment without pharmaceutical interventions. 

"Children have a fear of the unknown and although the MRI scan will not hurt them they can be frighten by the noise and size of the scanner. By using play to prepare children for exactly what will happen we can reduce anxiety and increase cooperation, so along with the cost saving benefits it also improves the patient experience.”

An MRI model seen in the film was designed by Ernie Palfi in UCLH Radiotherapy Physics, with manufacture using the 3D printer based in UCLH Medical Physics and Bioengineering, and joint engineering input from the Mechanical Workshop and Radiotherapy Physics to create the finished play device.

Watch the short film below or click here to view it on the BBC website.

 Latest news

 Contact details

Communications unit
2nd floor central
250 Euston Road
London NW1 2PG

Media enquiries

Switchboard: 020 3456 7890
Media enquiries: 020 3447 7542 / 020 3447 9506
Email: uclh.media@nhs.net

Out of hours
The normal working hours for the Communications Unit are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. The only media enquiries that will be answered outside of these working hours are urgent enquiries and those relating to major incidents. To access the out-of-hours service call switchboard on 0845 155 5000.

Share this story