Hospital Puppet Playdates
The Camp Quality Puppets visit kids facing cancer at their hospital bedside to provide therapeutic laughter and fun.
Our sponsored Child Life Therapists stay by a child’s side in hospital every step of the way throughout their cancer experience, encouraging coping skills and boosting wellbeing through play therapy, education and distraction.
These invaluable health professionals reduce a child’s stress and anxiety over the procedures they face, helping to minimise the need for anaesthetic and sedation.
With gentle encouragement and understanding, Child Life Therapists teach children strategies on how to manage their illness on the ward and once they return home from hospital. They provide techniques that build understanding, resilience and empowerment to support kids throughout their cancer treatment.
Child Life Therapists also support the welfare of the whole family, including siblings, by providing practical help, forming bonds, and sharing skills that strengthen the wellbeing of the family unit.
Camp Quality is one of the major funders of Child Life Therapy positions in Australia. We currently fund Child Life Therapist roles at Monash Children’s Hospital (Vic.), Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne (Vic.), John Hunter Children’s Hospital (Newcastle, NSW), The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (NSW) and Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick (NSW).
While programs are currently available in NSW and Victoria, Camp Quality is advocating for wider access to this much-needed group of health professionals in other Australian states and territories.
Watch this video to find out how 4-year-old Addy’s hospital experience was improved by Kylie, her wonderful Child Life Therapist, at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
James: It was heartbreaking just to see my little girl laying on a bed in pain.
Kristen: Addison woke up one morning with sore legs, crying. She couldn’t get out of bed. We took her to the doctors where they ran some tests and we got a phone call that she was neuroblastoma.
Addison had her first general anesthetic when she was going in to have her bone marrow biopsy. Having to force her to stay there so they could do what they had to do, it was very hard
During the first couple of weeks where Addison was getting all her testing done, she was very anxious. She was very scared. Every time a nurse or a doctor came near her, she’d start crying because she didn’t know what they were going to do next.
When we first met Kylie, she actually came up to Addison’s room and asked to speak to us outside and she introduced herself as the Child Life Therapist. She just was coming up to talk to us about what was happening, and Addison’s upcoming surgery, and ways that she could try and help Addison get through what she had to get through.
James: Well, the day before Addison was due to have her central line surgery, Kylie came in with a puppet. On the puppet it had its very own central line. She spoke with Addison, sat down next to her and just explained what was going to happen and exactly how they put it in. She explained it in a way that Addison totally understood.
Kristen: We understood better after Kylie had explained it than we did after the doctors had explained it to us.
Having all of Addison’s art and craft hanging on the wall that she’d done with Kylie helped her wellbeing, and it gave her something else to focus on rather than focusing on treatment.
Addison is uncontrollable getting a general anesthetic, it makes her very anxious because she knows how she’s going to wake up. She knows she’s going to wake up sick, dizzy, and just feeling pretty unpleasant. Being able to do radiotherapy without a general anesthetic was just amazing. It made everything so much easier for Addison.
Kylie gave us multiple tools to enable us to be able to help Addison stay still during her radio. She told Addison she had to stay still like a statue and not move.
Kylie: Do you stay still like a statue?
Kristen: A completely different child, and that’s due to the way Kylie was able to understand and explain to her to make her understand what was going to happen.
Are you a social worker, child life therapist, nurse, doctor or other health care professional working with kids and families impacted by cancer? Learn more about our programs and services and how to refer someone to Camp Quality.Information for Health Professionals