Getting Crafty with GOSH!

At Fruit Bowl, children and families are at the heart of what we do, and we wanted to support a charity that does so much for children, so we are delighted to say we are supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity). 

We are delighted that Fruit Bowl has been able to support GOSH with the product for the patients who are able to and at the charity’s events and most recently with the hospital’s patient party which is organised by GOSH Charity. We recently attended the patient summer party, it was a wonderful opportunity to help, we went down to London armed with craft activities and lots of products.

We had great and inspiring day meeting patients, parents and staff offering them some wonderful fun away from their wards. The party was a great celebration of summer and the children dressed up, as did many of the staff. The Fruit Bowl team are very excited about supporting GOSH more over the coming months, and we will be sure to keep you updated!

When we visited GOSH we had the wonderful experience of meeting Lynsey a play specialist on Eagle Wardwhich treats patients who have conditions that affect their kidneys. We caught up with her to hear more about what her role at GOSH involves..

How long have you been at GOSH?
10 years this November

What do you do at GOSH?
I am a play specialist, I support patients by normalising a stay in hospital through play, assessing patients support requirements and helping educate them. Education through play is a vital element of what I do. When the patients are playing we learn about what is going to happen to their bodies. We use medical play with real medical equipment to help take away the fear on any procedure or operation they are going to have. The activities we do will cover all sorts of topics that affect their conditions such as education on snacking, dietary restrictions, games, the royal wedding. However, the key element is that we keep it fun and try to make a stay in hospital as fun as possible. Some children don’t want to leave hospital as they enjoy playing so much.  

What is a typical day for you?
I am based on a renal unit called Eagle which has 25 beds. My day typically starts at 7 am with a ward handover from those on the night shift. Many of the children who visit our ward are scared and nervous so I will often assist with blood tests to help the children stay calm and relaxed. I will then do any admin that is required, it is best to do this early as it is quieter. I will prepare for any dialysis patients who are coming in that day, so we have activities and fun planned for them. I will also prepare for pre transplant visits we have as we carry out role play with a teddy and medical equipment so that they feel more relaxed about what is going to happen.

 There is no average stay we have patients who are in 3 times per week for 2 -3 years for dialysisa process that replicates the function of the kidneys whilst they wait for a donor. Some of our patients are in long-term and we normally have two beds that are occupied by these patients. 

 What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping the children overcome the fear of coming to hospital, and seeing them leave treated. We recently had a boy admitted to the ward who wouldn’t walk to his bed and was screaming with fear. It was wonderful to build his confidence with play and gaining his trust. By the end of the week he was enjoying medical play with real medical equipment. He then left hospital at the end of the week no longer scared of hospital. It’s about remembering the fun in hospital.

Why are the GOSH Parties so important to patient’s families and staff?
The parties organised by GOSH Charity offer a real focus for the families, they are different each time and are all about fun. The parties offer a wonderful change of setting from the ward, they have a wide variety of activities, cooking, art and craft. They are loved by the children, staff and families as they all have the opportunity to dress up, and enjoy all the fun. If you are a patient that is on the ward regularly or long term, there is nothing more exciting than getting off the ward for a party.

What are your key tips for children’s snacking?
Like lots of patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital, children on this ward have to monitor their diet and be careful of certain foods. I would say Keep snacks different. Try and offer 3 different snacks, so you enjoy different food groups. It is important to create a healthy attitude with food, by making food fun and tasty. By playing with food children are more likely to eat it as they get use to the feel of it. 


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