Outcomes of a hospital-based recreation program

The experience of hospitalization is stressful and traumatic for children and their families. A common way to address these threats to positive development is by introducing play programs in hospitals. Studies of therapeutic activities have had a decided focus on medical-related outcomes. Few studies have explored potential outcomes for children who participate in recreational play activities. This study explored potential short-term changes in children after participating in a recreational play experience, from the perspectives of parents/caregivers and of hospital staff. One-hundred and ten parents/caregivers and 114 hospital staff completed questionnaires after interacting with the “Hospital Outreach Program ” (HOP), reflecting a total of 126 patients. Questionnaires included questions about patients’ anxiety, comfort in the hospital, openness to hospital staff, positive affect, sadness, physical pain, physical activity level, and socializing with other patients, and other potential changes. Results showed several reports of improvements in patients’ positive affect and sadness. Few respondents reported any changes in patients’ socializing with other patients and physical pain. Parents/caregivers and hospital staff perceived other short-term outcomes involving more activity, communication, and willingness to participate in medical-related activities. The findings from this study contribute to the research base on effects of adult-led, recreation-focused, in-hospital activities for pediatric patients. © 2018

The experience of hospitalization is stressful and traumatic for children and their families. A common way to address these threats to positive development is by introducing play programs in hospitals. Studies of therapeutic activities have had a decided focus on medical-related outcomes. Few studies have explored potential outcomes for children who participate in recreational play activities. This study explored potential short-term changes in children after participating in a recreational play experience, from the perspectives of parents/caregivers and of hospital staff. One-hundred and ten parents/caregivers and 114 hospital staff completed questionnaires after interacting with the “Hospital Outreach Program ” (HOP), reflecting a total of 126 patients. Questionnaires included questions about patients’ anxiety, comfort in the hospital, openness to hospital staff, positive affect, sadness, physical pain, physical activity level, and socializing with other patients, and other potential changes. Results showed several reports of improvements in patients’ positive affect and sadness. Few respondents reported any changes in patients’ socializing with other patients and physical pain. Parents/caregivers and hospital staff perceived other short-term outcomes involving more activity, communication, and willingness to participate in medical-related activities. The findings from this study contribute to the research base on effects of adult-led, recreation-focused, in-hospital activities for pediatric patients. © 2018

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