Blood tests, infusions and inpatient stays are all too regular occurrences for gorgeous little Caitlin. Due to complex medical needs Caitlin has been receiving infusions for many years now, an unpleasant experience at any age but more so for one who’s just five-years-old.
When Caitlin arrives at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) her port is accessed with a needle first thing in the morning. She then remains hooked up to the infusion all day, during which time she must stay on the ward to be closely monitored in case of an adverse reaction. Not exactly an exciting outing.
She’s not alone, however. Every year CHW sees almost 30,000 inpatient submissions, more than 50,000 emergency department presentations and close to a million outpatient visits. That’s a lot of courageous kids passing through the doors, and also a lot of missed playtime.
ToyBox International has been able to bring playtime to the patients with a brand new visual sensory tub containing loads of bright and fun toys for the little troopers at CHW to enjoy.
From flashing sponge balls to magic spinning stars and light diffraction panels, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained, and Ngaire Wood, Deputy Head of Child Life Therapy at CHW, says the visual sensory tub is a great distraction during the children’s stay in hospital.“These toys and activities provide visual interest and visual stimulation; encourage hand-eye co-ordination and tactile stimulation. Many of these activities also promote sensory awareness and relaxation. Most importantly all of these toys and activities are fun!”
All children visiting the hospital are able to use the new toys but the sensory tub is particularly beneficial for children with visual or hearing impairments and those who may have physical limitations. “Specialist toys and activities such as those available in our newly donated sensory tub will allow the Child Life Therapy team to better meet the needs of this gorgeous group of children,” says Ngaire.
And Caitlin’s mum Karen couldn’t agree more, noting that even though her daughter attends an external sensory playgroup, this is the first time she had the opportunity to use such a great range of sensory toys while in hospital.
Ngaire says that like any five-year-old Caitlin likes to keep busy playing, chatting, exploring and learning. “The activities and toys in the sensory tub are not only a great distraction during her long day in hospital but allow her independence in play and (are) a bucket load of fun,” she adds.
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