Playing well – hospital playtime is a key part of treatment
Sarah Anderson joined the play team at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital as The Archie Foundation’s funded Play Leader on 1st December 2018, and since then she has been one of the charities biggest assets.
While play is at the centre of what Sarah does, the support she provides for young patients and their families is far more serious.
Through play Sarah provides reassurance, company and comfort for young patients helping to keep their spirits up and their worries down. She supports children of all ages from babies to teens and from long-term patients with complex needs through to day-cases who can be in and out in a matter of hours with barely enough time to play a game of snap!
Sarah takes great pride in tailoring the support she provides making it a really special and meaningful experience for every child she supports. Mum of twins that have been in and out of RACH since they were born Holly Warrender said: “Sarah is an absolute angel, it’s not a job to her it’s a passion, she brings so much joy and helped me through so many tough times. She makes life so much easier for parents and carers, and enabled me to have a few minutes to myself everyday so that I could better cope with everything that was going on.”
Sarah is a key support for the medical team on the wards too, helping to distract children while doctors and nurses carry out procedures. She is also a great source of company, advice and support for parents who appreciate seeing a friendly and familiar face on the wards. Parents regularly feedback to Sarah and to ARCHIE how grateful they are for the guilt-free opportunities that her presence, attention and care affords them to take a break from their child’s bedside to grab a coffee or even a bit of rest for those who are staying in the ARCHIE Family Centre.
Paula Cormack CEO of The Archie Foundation said: “The Play Team at RACH provide truly vital support for patients, families and our NHS colleagues and we are really proud to support the entire team including fully funding Sarah in the Archie Play Leader post. We hear daily the difference the Play Team make and we are always keen to ensure our supporters understand that “Play” in a hospital environment is a highly skilled specialism that requires in-depth training. It is so much more than the word “play” itself suggests.”
Cassy Gray was told before her daughter Megan was born that she would most likely ‘not be compatible with life’ having been diagnosed with Semilobar Holoprosencephaly. Megan was born on the 1st of May 2020, and has recently spent 10 weeks in RACH. Cassy said: “I genuinely couldn’t have got through that time without Sarah. She made it so much more bearable and did so much with Megan. Every day we’d have a visit from her and it really brightened my day. Not only does she make sure Megan is doing well but she also checks in on me, and that means so much.”
Sarah said: “Everyday is different and that’s really what I love about my role. The play team here at RACH are wonderful and it’s an heart-warming to do a job which brings so much joy to so many. Being there to support children through play but also being a support for their parents or carers during really hard times is is a real honour.”
Click here to read Press and Journal article – Peterhead mum speaks of charity’s help after twins’ medical emergencies (pressandjournal.co.uk)