Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand Inc.

About Hospital Play Specialists Assn.

Play is vital to the continued development and learning of children. In hospital, play has an additional purpose: it bridges the gap between home, early childhood centre or school, and hospital, and helps children and young people adjust to a potentially stressful situation.

Hospital Play Specialists provide therapeutic play and recreation programmes for infants, children and young people, both individually and in groups.

They work as members of the professional healthcare team to:
  • Provide activities to maintain learning and development goals
  • Prepare children for medical and surgical procedures
  • Help children express feelings and master and cope with anxieties
  • Support families, especially siblings
  • Contribute to clinical judgements through observations of children
  • Contribute to improved understanding of the value and importance of play in hospital
Play in hospital
  • Creates an environment where stress and anxiety are lessened
  • Helps children and young people to understand why they are in hospital, and what will happen
  • Assists them to cope with illness, with being in hospital, and with treatment
  • Helps them to regain confidence, independence and self-esteem
  • Provides an outlet for feelings
  • Aids in assessment and diagnosis
  • Speeds recovery and rehabilitation
  • Enhances family involvement in their child's care
Internationally, it is recommended that:
  • Hospital play programmes be provided in all areas in the hospital where children and young people are cared for
  • All hospital play programmes are under the supervision of a qualified hospital play specialist

In many New Zealand hospitals, hospital play programmes also incorporate early childhood education services, licensed and chartered by the Ministry of Education. These services are part-funded by the Ministry of Education and provide for the ongoing learning and education of children from birth to school entry.

To contact any member of Hospital Play Specialists Association, please use the Contact & Enquiry form here.