12 October 2023
Celebrating a Wonderful Play Team
For more than 15 years, Theodora Giggle Doctors have been visiting Sheffield Children’s Hospital and working closely with the amazing play team there. In celebration of Play in Hospital Week 2023, we’re shining a spotlight on the fantastic work the Sheffield play team do bringing play to so very many children in hospital.
Giggle Doctors at Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Throughout Covid, the Sheffield play team continued their work tirelessly to keep bringing play to children even when all the external visitors like Giggle Doctors were not able to visit, and when restrictions did start to ease in the hospital, Play Services Team Managers Kathryn and Shabnam and their team welcomed the Giggle Doctors back with open arms.
Our return to Sheffield was particularly special because it was one of the first hospitals to allow Giggle Doctors to visit in pairs again after the pandemic. This was crucial for our eight Junior Giggle Doctors, who still needed to work alongside a more experienced Giggle Doctor as they finished honing their Giggle Doctor craft.
Training to become a Giggle Doctor takes two years, and Covid struck right in the middle of this period for the Junior Giggle Doctors. Fortunately, we can now visit in duos across all of our hospital sites again, so Junior Giggle Doctors have been bringing giggles to children in all different types of hospital. All eight Junior Giggle Doctors have now completed their training – and it felt very fitting that the eighth one graduated at Sheffield Children’s hospital just last week!
As a charity, we’re incredibly grateful for their openheartedness, and for the inviting atmosphere the Sheffield play team created for our Junior Giggle Doctors to build their skills and confidence.
And this isn’t just a meaningful contribution for us as a charity, those Giggle Doctors trained at Sheffield now visit children in hospitals all over England from Brighton and Southampton right up to Leeds and Bradford.
An outstanding Play Team
The Sheffield play team bring a wonderful lightness and positivity to their work, forming strong bonds with children who are on the wards frequently or for many months. Giggle Doctor, Dr Flowerpot observed:
“Children and young people being empowered by the Sheffield play team simply by being given choices.”
She added: “The play team are also highly skilled in different forms of distraction and preparation for medical procedures.”
With a dedicated member of play staff for each ward or clinical area, the Sheffield play staff make sure every child, and their parents and carers, have access to games, musical toys, gaming equipment, and craft supplies.
As well as several playrooms, children can access toys in the corridors such as ride along toys and table football. This amazing arrange just shows how the play team recognise that every child needs opportunities for play appropriate to their age, mood, preferences and energy.
Children who are in long term care or who return frequently for care build beautiful and lifelong friendships with their play team member. They are always visible and enthusiastic, and genuinely love spending time with all ages from tiny babies to near adults and everyone in between.