Qatar- Hamad Medical launches play therapy for kids to cope up with illness

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: A new programme that helps children to understand their illness and adjust to being in hospital has been introduced at Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) Al Wakrah Hospital. The play therapy programme is the first of its kind in Qatar and uses puppets, props, and toys to help children understand their illness and express any fears they may have about treatment.

Last month Al Wakrah Hospital organised a session for patients, their families, and local school children to raise awareness about how play therapy is used to help prepare children for medical procedures.

The session included a presentation on the games used in the hospital as part of play therapy and participants were shown how activities such as colouring, drawing, and friendly competitions can be used to familiarise children with various medical conditions and the main organ systems of the human body, such as the respiratory and digestive systems.

Hanan Musleh, Head Nurse for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Al Wakrah Hospital, said, 'Al Wakrah Hospital has developed a therapeutic approach that uses play therapy and simulation to help children comprehend their illness. The programme was introduced in 2017 and is the first of its kind in Qatar. It is mainly used for inpatients, both long- and short-term. We have a team of 15 nurses from different sections of the hospital who volunteer their time to manufacture the toys that are used as part of the therapy. The toys are made from unused or recycled fabrics and are sterilized with assistance from our patients' parents.

The use of puppet modelling and puppet simulation in healthcare is becoming more popular as its effectiveness in both engaging and educating children is recognized. In play therapy, planned treatments are demonstrated on a puppet with the child participating in the demonstration. For example, the child will be asked to administer a needle to the puppet or replace a bandage. Play therapy and simulation helps the child to understand and accept the planned treatment and is also useful in alleviating fears and helping the child to verbalize questions and concerns. It is an effective way to meet the emotional needs of children who have an illness or require surgery.

'The Nursing Department at Al Wakrah Hospital fully supported the incorporation of play therapy. We have consulted with specialists in this area and have been provided with a list of suitable and safe toys that can be used for play therapy. We hope this program will be adopted by other hospitals, added Musleh.


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