Setting The Scene
Creating a ‘normal’ environment withing the most ‘abnormal’ of situations presents a huge challenge to any children’s department within a hospital.
Whilst addressing the clinical needs of the most unwell children, it is no less important to consider the overall emotional and social development and furthermore, the well-being of the child and their family. When a child is admitted to hospital on a long term basis, or frequently re-admitted, it is an anormous upheavel for the whole family. A total change of environment away from ‘normal’ family life, coupled with the fear of uncertainty, can be hugely distressing for both the patient and their carer.
Some young children in hospital miss out not only on the security and the comforts of home life, but also the vital pre-school education that they would normally receive. Repeated and lengthy confinements in hospital can lead to significant gaps in their Early Years development. Play-based learning at this age is crucial for childrens’ emotional well-being, language development and the development of metacognative and self-regulatory abilities – abilities which underpin academic achievement, creativity and problem-solving.
Every child deserves to have the best possible start in life and the support to fulfil their potential. No child should be left behind.
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