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Play and Youth Team

The Play and Youth Team includes qualified and registered health play specialists and a hospital youth worker. The team provides specialist therapeutic and holistic services to support babies, children and young people.

We are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). Our aim is to support children and young people’s hospital journeys by creating positive experiences, allowing them to reduce anxieties, build resilience and improve wellbeing.

Our services include:

  • preparation play using specialised play techniques and resources for procedures including blood tests, scans, X-rays, surgical interventions and the introduction of medical equipment
  • distraction therapy using age appropriate resources for blood tests, cannulations, long lines, and dressing changes
  • post procedural play to support and work through medical experiences, trauma and anxieties brought on by hospital admission
  • acting as advocates – supporting patients and intervening on their behalf with members of the MDT to make sure their voices and feelings are heard
  • sensory play and stimulation opportunities
  • normalising play to achieve and maintain developmental goals and provide stability
  • providing a safe space and emotional outlet to enable and support children and young people to express emotions and master coping techniques
  • contributing to clinical judgements through play based observations and attending MDT meetings
  • teaching the value of specialised play to health care professionals and families
  • providing and organising entertainment and visitors for patients and families

Youth worker

King’s College Hospital has a youth worker who supports young people aged 12 years and over during their hospital stay, working together with them and their families and carers to make a difference to their care throughout their admission. They are based within paediatrics and cover all paediatric inpatients wards.

The youth worker’s holistic role includes:

  • supporting young people to gain new skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and mental wellbeing
  • supporting young people who are experiencing difficulty managing hospital admission and procedures
  • presenting specialised knowledge and advocacy for patients as a professional member of the multidisciplinary team
  • providing appropriate therapeutic and recreational activities to enable normal cognitive, social and emotional development to continue during treatment
  • providing support to patients, siblings, parents and carers during times of crisis


Our facilities at King’s College Hospital include a sensory room (pictured right) where patients and families can book sessions with their health play specialists and special family time. Please check with the play specialist on duty. Use of the room is subject to infection control guidance.

The youth worker runs a youth room that young people can visit to have some time off the ward. It provides a fun, relaxing environment equipped with lots of activities, resources and gaming consoles, where young people can feel more comfortable and relaxed away from medical environments. Sessions can be booked with the youth worker or health play specialists.


We accept donations of new toys and resources on the wards. If you would like to donate, please contact one of the health play specialists.

Unfortunately, due to infection control and health and safety, we cannot accept second hand resources or toys that are fabric or porous. Please speak to your health play specialist if you would like to donate second hand toys, they will be able to inform you if they are accepting donations and advise what is acceptable. All donations must be cleaned before they are brought in.


The health play specialists and youth worker are based on the paediatric wards. Please ask the staff on your ward to identify members of the team.

Contact the Play and Youth Team on [email protected]