Ms. Chiko CHONG
Lead Hospital Play Supervisor
Playright Chrildren’s Play Association
Chiko is a registered play therapist (UK) and currently works as the Lead Hospital Play Supervisor of the Hospital Play service team in Playright Children’s Play Association. She has been working with children and adolescents for over 10 years. By joining this profession, she has worked to advocate the importance of children’s psychosocial health and facilitate play opportunities through the patients’ pathways. She has extensive experience working in various specialties and hospitals. Chiko pursued professionalism through local and overseas training. She completed the Certificate in Theory and Practice of Hospital Play through HKU SPACE in 2013. In 2020, Chiko completed a child life internship at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and became a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) offered by the Association of Child Life Professions. Chiko focuses on providing training and workshops on hospital play to healthcare professionals in different healthcare settings, nursing students in universities, and other stakeholders.
Play is the right and essential to every child even when they are hospitalized. It is an essential requirement for children’s well-being and development. The hospital play service hub of Playright Children’s Play Association provides psychosocial support to children and their families during hospitalization and illness in order to facilitate coping with fear and illness and enhance positive experiences through the patients’ pathways. Hospital play specialists utilize different therapeutic play interventions to provide preparation and facilitate coping with the hospitalization experience. The five main interventions are preparation play, distraction play, medical play, expressive play, and developmental play.
In perioperative care, preparation play is the key component as child patients have to face various procedures which might introduce a sense of uncertainty and anxiety. The prospect of surgery including induction of anesthesia can be overwhelming for children. Psychological preparation through age-appropriate channels like play aims at reducing anxiety and enhancing the cooperativeness of child patients and families. By preparing children for medical procedures, it enhances their understanding of what to expect, such as sensory information, and develops coping strategies. Assessment plays an important role in preparation play as this will directly influence the appropriateness, and hence, effectiveness of the intervention. Various stress factors are considered before providing developmentally appropriate information and activities. Different tools and methods including communication skills will also be sensitively introduced to alleviate anxiety. Play is not only limited to hospital play specialists, but healthcare professionals including anesthesiologists can also contribute to enhancing the positive experience of child patients by using age-appropriate approaches.