Play is a tool for education and health and is an important aspect of being a child.
When children are in hospitals for long periods of time, they lose a part of their childhood. They are no longer children but rather patients, and are treated as such. They lose the pure essence that is childhood: playing and learning. These concepts are critical to a child’s successful development, and a lack of normal childhood experiences can have negative effects on the child later in life.
Right To Play encourages hospitals to treat children as children, not as patients. Hospitals in China are mainly focused on medical treatment, rather than the emotional stress that comes from being in a hospital. Doctors and nurses should treat the child in a holistic way, rather than just address their medical needs. This program will integrate medical social workers and volunteers into hospital systems in China who can assist medical staff to provide child-centered and age-appropriate holistic services that support the child and their family.
The goal is to make children understand what medical tools they will be seeing and ease anxiety around treatment by associating it with fun and play. Playing games, encouraging creativity, and creating a safe environment will enhance children’s comfort in hospitals in advance of their treatment.