Children with complex physical or learning needs and their families were guests at a fun day at Maidstone Hospital on Friday 29 July, hosted by paediatric orthopaedic teams.
The children invited to take part in the event were all patients who have had to come to hospital more than once for orthopaedic surgery. The day was designed to help Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) learn from families’ feedback to help support children and young people, especially those with additional physical and emotional needs.
The day was organised by Consultant Paediatric Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon Rantimi Ayodele, alongside Paediatric Orthopaedic Pain Nurse Specialist Julie Doherty, and Patient Experience Lead Nikki Lewis.
Julie Doherty commented: “The children’s smiles really did say it all and it was wonderful for them to meet other children with similar experiences, and for their siblings and parents to meet other families. Numbers were exchanged and I think that they will stay in touch, which is lovely.
We heard some very positive feedback that they felt supported on their journey, how much they all enjoyed the day and that they felt valued that their thoughts were being listened to.”
The event was supported by the Trust’s Health Play Specialist apprentices and gave specialist teams the chance to speak with children and their parents in a relaxed and accessible space where all the children could take part, and for them to meet medical staff away from the clinical environment, which many of the children would find stressful.
Health play specialists use play strategies to support children and young people in understanding their medical conditions and treatments, and the day led to a range of ideas which could benefit future patients.
Paediatric Matron for Specialist Teams, Eunice Goto, said: “We send a huge thank you to all the children and families that visited us and appreciate them taking time out and share their experiences with us. It is through such engagements, inclusivity and sharing of ideas that we can deliver high quality care to our patients and their families, and the communities we serve.”
Nikki Lewis, Patient Experience Lead, commented: “The feedback for the day was spectacular, many parents thanked us for putting it on so we could hear their experiences to make a positive change. I know lots of the children were very happy with the activities – some didn’t want to leave!”