The Oncology Play Team at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children applied for funding to support children being treated on the oncology wards during radiotherapy.

The funding provided:

  • A LEGO model to help prepare children before radiotherapy. The model was made using pictures of the actual equipment and treatment room, giving children the opportunity to familiarise themselves with what is about to happen and what they will see
  • A weighted blanket to help children stay still during radiotherapy, making them feel more supported
  • Story CDs for children to listen to during treatment, helping to distract and comfort them
  • Worry monsters, which are soft toys that children can ‘feed’ their worries that they have written down, through a slot in the mouth.  Play specialists or parents can then look at these later and ensure children’s specific worries are addressed
  • A light projector for the teenage recovery bay. The projector shows a moving image of water on to the wall or floor in different colours. Staff use the projector to create a relaxing environment for the teenagers during long day stays having oncology treatment.

Children that are well prepped can cope with treatment without anaesthetic, meaning they become more resilient, stay calm and complete treatment quicker.

Jo Caseley, oncology play specialist at the hospital, said: “Children that cope without a general anaesthetic (GA) are generally happier and spend less time in the hospital.

“Parents and carers are also less anxious if they can see their children coping well.”

Buzzy Bees have also been provided to Ocean Unit as part of the funding. This is a piece of equipment that is used to help children and young people cope with injections.

The small bee vibrates on the skin above the site of the injection, creating a numb feeling. The bee also has small ice pack wings. Buzzy Bees are very easy to use and can be used on most patients.

Jo said: “At a time when NHS funding is stretched, the play department receives very little funding towards preparation equipment.

“These resources will ensure children get the best preparation for radiotherapy and their treatment journey.”

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