Children at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow who are about to be anaesthetised can take their pick of a range of toys and books from Buzz Lightyear to a ‘Where’s Wally’ book in the anaesthetic room.
This is thanks to an initiative to improve the theatres experience for children and their families at the RHC by looking at ways of coming to theatres more interactive, immersive, calming and fun.
To start this journey of improvement toy boxes have been introduced into each anaesthetic room. These contain a range of toys and books which children can play with in the anaesthetic room before going into theatre. This welcome distraction can make the theatres experience less stressful.
The Theatres Improvement Initiative was introduced over the summer by Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist Alyson Walker who in her role as anaesthetist makes it her priority to minimise the stress of the child and their parents or carers.
“Coming in for an operation or procedure can be a stressful time for children and their family. Staff are very mindful of this and we try our very best to create a welcoming calm and fun environment.” says Alyson.
The toys range from Buzz Lightyear figures and Rubik Cubes to ‘Where’s Wally’ books and toy animals.
Alyson added: “Through the Theatres Improvement Initiative we are looking at way to improve the patient journey.
“We asked children and their families how things could be better. One comment that cropped up a few times was the lack of things to distract their child in the anaesthetic room.
“In response to this we have purchased 11 sets of fabulous toys to distract and entertain children in the anaesthetic rooms.
“We hope this will be the beginning of a theatre transformation which will make the theatre experience easier and more relaxing for our patients, their family and also the staff.
“The aim is to create a positive experience for every child coming for a surgical procedure and perhaps they may even go back to school and boast to their teacher and classmates about how easy it was to offer reassurance to other children who may be coming for a theatre procedure.
“We worked closely with Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity who very kindly agreed to fund the boxes and we are already seeing a difference. Several parents, children and staff have commented that such a simple thing can provide just the distraction a child needs to help them go off to sleep calmly.
“We are continuing to work with patients and their families to identify other ways we can make things more relaxed for children who are about to undergo surgery.
“The ideal would be a theatre suite that is inviting, immersive and a fun place for children to come.”
Kirsten Sinclair, Chief Operating Officer, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity said: “Being in hospital for surgical treatment can be a really worrying time for young patients. We’re proud to support this special project to help relax and distract children and young people ahead of treatment, and it is wonderful to have had such positive feedback from families so far.
“We raise funds to ensure that every baby, child and young person cared for at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children has the best possible care and experience. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Theatres team to support their endeavours to enhance hospital experiences, and look forward to raising funds together to introduce further enhancements for young patients in the future.
"Anyone wanting to contribute to the Theatre Improvement Initiative can do so at - https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/rhctheatresfund."
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]
Pic: Some of the toys available for young patients to help them through through surgery journey