Play Therapy

The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (Children’s Hospital) has a team of Hospital Play Specialists who work in all areas of the hospital including the Emergency Department, Outpatients and Theatre. They also have a Community Play Specialist who works specifically with Haematology and Oncology patients.

Play Specialists work with children of all ages and conditions and their work involves:

  • Providing normalising play activities in the play area or at the bedside.
  • Providing play to achieve developmental goals and to regain skills.
  • Hospital play to prepare children for surgery and other procedures and to explain about illness.
  • Distraction Therapy during treatment
  • Contributing to clinical judgements through play based observations.
  • Advising parents and carers on appropriate play activities for home.
  • Supporting families and siblings.
  • Organising a visitors programme during school holidays to create a positive view of hospital.

How to Access the Service:

The service can be accessed through staff in ward areas, Emergency Department and the Outpatients department within the Children’s Hospital.

The Community Play Specialist service can be accessed through the Play department, Haematology Team and McMillan children’s nurses.

Location of Service:

The Play department is based within Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

You can contact the Play department on

The Community Play Service is a regional service, available in the clients own home.

You can contact the Community Play Service on

Related Services:


Speech and language Therapy

Occupational Therapy