Published on 04 December 2019
Fun and friendship are on offer when pre-schoolers join patients at the William Harvey Hospital every month.
Youngsters from the Little Oaks Day Nursery, located on the hospital’s site in Ashford, visit patients on Cambridge Ward for a morning of messy play.
The sessions give the children the opportunity to get creative and make new friends, while the adult patients are able to leave the hospital wards and join in a fun activity with paints, glue and even glitter.
Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist Jane Kent said the group gave patients a sense of purpose.
She said: “Everyone involved enjoys these groups as they are full of such fun and laughter and it is wonderful to see the patients engage and interact with the children.
“The children are great at getting the adults involved and it’s a fantastic opportunity to improve patients’ mood and help motivate them with their rehab, giving them a reason to get out of bed, get dressed and move about.
“This is important because it helps keep muscles strong, prevents pressure sores and reduces the risk of falling.
“We try to plan a different theme each month and there are a range of activities on offer so there’s always something new to try.”
Louise Peat, from Little Oaks Nursery, said the children also looked forward to the sessions.
She said: “It’s lovely to see them interacting with the patients and chatting about what they are doing.
“One little girl told us she wanted to cuddle and high-five everyone to help them feel better and make them smile.
“It’s a wonderful way for our children to learn about the differences and similarities between people, while having fun together and exploring different crafts.
“They are always so excited afterwards and they love talking about who they have met and all the exciting activities they have been taking part in.”
The activity supports East Kent Hospitals’ ‘I can’ campaign, to encourage patients to keep active while they are in hospital to help them recover faster and go home sooner.
Staying in bed too long can lead to people’s muscles getting weaker, so getting out of bed and getting moving can really help with recovery.
A range of activities are available on wards across the Trust, from lunch clubs to exercise groups, all aimed at helping people enjoy some of the things they would normally do at home.
The sessions are also beneficial for people living with dementia and support the Trust’s aim to have totally dementia-friendly hospitals.