Play area will ease fears over surgery
Dundee’s new operating theatre for children will allow youngsters with a wider range of conditions to be treated in a child-friendly environment, according to an NHS Tayside play specialist.
Maxine Steele, who works at Tayside Children’s Hospital in Ninewells, explained that young patients receiving dental surgery have previously had to make do with a potentially daunting generic space.
The new facility, built by
NHS Tayside and The ARCHIE Foundation, is bright and spacious, with access to outdoor play space and the services of play specialists.
These professionals guide children through the treatment process with the aid of toys, games and demonstrations.
Ms Steele said: “Our role is to make coming to hospital a better experience for the children.
“We prepare them for going to theatre, explaining to them that they will be going to sleep for a bit and showing them some of the equipment, so that they’re prepared.
“We keep the children calm and relaxed through play, which is tailored to the child’s age and stage of development.
“In the new facility, more children will benefit from that support. It will make a difference to dental patients as there will be more space and they will be able to receive treatment there.”
Ms Steele explained play specialists accompany childre to theatre and give support throughout their stay.
Younger children are taken to theatre in a toy car to ease anxiety.
She added: “We get the child on our side and build up a relationship following their journey through surgery.
“We also support the parents, who are sometimes more anxious than the children.”
Maxine Steele says play helps children stay calm before surgery.