“Every child has the right to play”, says Sarah Merrick, palliative care specialist at the Welsh Children’s Hospice, Ty Hafan. Play is one of the most important aspects of a child’s development. Play allows the child to express themselves, use energy and develop problem solving skills. It is especially important for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, as it supports communication, is a tool for distraction and helps a child emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.
Ty Hafan recruited Sarah Merrick as palliative care play specialist. Sarah has been a qualified play therapist for the past 12 years, who worked in a hospital setting before joining Ty Hafan in November 2014. Sarah and her team help develop and teach children with life-limiting conditions. These children go through countless medical procedures, Sara uses play to help them cope. Sarah regularly organises “messy play” which engages a child’s senses with different textures.
Sarah said, “we believe passionately that every child has the right to play, whatever their level of ability. If a child is not able to physically move or join in, that doesn’t mean that they can’t play – it’s just about finding the way that works for them. We find a way to make children giggle and laugh,” she continued by saying “our sessions are a mixture of arts and crafts, music and messy play, as well as using the amazing facilities at the hospice like our multi-sensory room, the hydrotherapy pool, soft play area and outdoor playground. Sarah believes, “I have the best job in the world.” To read this full article, click here.