The History of play 3

This is the third extract from the Therapeutic play manager’s History of Play at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

On 11 July 1974 Margaret Paterson accepted the role of Addenbrooke’s first qualified ‘Play leader’.  She set up a play group which was run Monday to Friday from 8.30 am until midday. It catered for all patients aged 0 to 12 years. A wide range of activities were required to accommodate for all the ages, abilities and special needs of the children. A cupboard of toys and activities was established and a pram was used as a trolley to take activities to those who were bed bound.

As demand for medical services for children and young people grew within Addenbrooke’s so did the need for play provision and for trained and qualified staff.

In the 1980’s the Rosie opened a purpose built play area for children attending appointments with their parents. A qualified nursery nurse was employed to run activities for these children and a similar service was identified and set up for those attending outpatient appointments in adult areas with support and funding from Action for Sick Children.

‘The Outpatients Play Service’ was set up in 1990 and closed in 2010. This consisted of an indoor and outdoor play area for children to be entrusted to qualified staff whilst their parents or siblings attended appointments elsewhere in the hospital. The lead for this service was a qualified play specialist who established play areas and provision in all adult clinic areas where children also attended. The role included working with the children who attended day surgery, on the one day a week it was dedicated to paediatrics and with those who required support when attending appointments and or having medical procedures in adult areas.

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