Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Take Action to End Government and Super Fund Investment in Tobacco

The tobacco industry has lost almost a billion dollars of Australian investment over the past year thanks to a campaign by health groups - including ASH Australia and other partners in Protecting Children from Tobacco (AWCH is a member at

Our partners have stressed the industry’s appalling Environment, Social and Governance record, especially its practices of targeting children in promotion and exploiting child labour. This has led to three state/territory governments divesting and also the Federal government’s Future Fund, as well as several super funds. This is money the industry can’t use to addict kids.

One suggested action to help with this campaign:  encourage your friends, employees, volunteers and supporters to write to their MPs and ministers as well as their own super/pension/retirement fund and seek more information about size/nature of their tobacco investments, and seek investment policies excluding tobacco.  Background, arguments, latest developments, who to write to and how at .

Written by:
Stafford Sanders
Protecting Children from Tobacco
ASH Australia

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Therapeutic activities for children and teens coping with health issues

Therapeutic activities for children and teens coping with health issues
By Robyn Hart and Judy Rollins.
John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2011, 379 p. ISBN 9780470555002.
Bibliography, pp  339-364. Includes CD-ROM.

 “Therapeutic activities for children and teens coping with health issues” is a book richly filled with activities to assist health professionals, child life therapists, counsellors and social workers in their work with families. Activities and related information promote adaptation and coping for children, adolescents and their families in hospital or living with health issues. It is great to see so many ideas presented in an easily readable format, with over 200 practical activities to choose from.

Chapters focus on promoting understanding and coping for adolescents and children through different aspects of their healthcare experiences. Topics of the 16 chapters include separation and anxiety, self expression, socialization and help with many aspects of coping with illness. Set out in a clear way, each topic covers an overview, special considerations and coping interventions. The theoretical framework behind each topic is outlined. Activities are set out using an easy-to-read table which includes: therapeutic goals, age group, adult/child ratio, required time, restrictions and precautions and materials. You will also find an extensive bibliography (pp  339-364) as well as black and white illustrations and photographs. The accompanying CD has activity sheets and templates that can be customised.

With a great mix of theory and hands on, this book is sure to be a helpful reference tool and provide both information and inspiration. In fact I think I’ll gather up my supplies and try my hand at making a volcano.

About the authors
Robyn Hart, director of Child Life at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Judy Rollins, coordinator of the Studio G Artist in Residence Program at Georgetown University Hospital and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine. This is the second  book they have worked together on, the previous award winning book is entitled, Therapeutic play activities for hospitalized children.

Keywords: Activities; Adaptation, psychology; Adolescent psychology; Bereavement; Body image; Child life; Child, hospitalised; Child psychology; Culture; Death; Families; Group work; Hospitalization; Medical art; Medical equipment; Mental health; Pain; Patients; Play therapy; Self-esteem; Self-expression; Therapeutic activities; Therapy

Winner of the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year 2011
(Category: Maternal And Child Health)

Other titles also by Judy Rollins available for loan from the AWCH collection:
Meeting children's psychosocial needs: across the health-care continuum / Judy A. Rollins, Rosemary Bolig and Carmel C. Mahan. Austin, Texas: Pro-ed, 2005. xv, 551 p.: Includes bibliographical references and index. Call number: 618.92 ROL 1
Core curriculum for the nursing care of children and their families / Marion E. Broome, Judy A. Rollins, Editors. Pitman, New Jersey: Jannetti Publications Inc., 1999. Call number: 610.7362 BRO 2

Review By:
Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
March, 2013

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Childlife Awareness Month

This month is Childlife Awareness Month. Childlife or Hospital Play has existed in hospitals that care for children since early in the 20th century often starting out as volunteer programs. However in Australia up until the second half of the 20th century and even now in the 21st century play programs are not always available in hospitals that care for children. Play gives children and adolescents the opportunity to express some of their apprehensions arising from the stress of illness. It also provides ‘normal’ everyday activities as a diversion from health care issues.

AWCH recognised the importance of play in hospital from its very early days and held a residential seminar at Armidale on play in hospital in 1976.  A first in Australia, it brought together a wide range of hospital staff, teachers and students in various disciplines and others interested in both the theoretical and practical aspects of play in hospital. It was through this seminar that play workers from a variety of hospitals and institutions and in widely differing positions became aware of each other’s existence and made recommendations for unified guidelines to be established as to their status in the hospital system. Today the Australian Association of Hospital Play Specialists promotes the importance of developmental play activities, therapeutic play, play preparation programs, medical play, diversion and distraction activities, and pre-
admission programs. In April 2013, AAHPS is holding its 7th biennial international conference, Connect and Collaborate A Hospital Wide Approach to Psychosocial Care in Melbourne.

So currently, where are we at with hospital play services in Australia? The AWCH 2005 National Survey Report on the Psychosocial Care of Children and Their Families in Hospital reported on the state of hospital play in Australia. The report found that just under 25% of surveyed hospitals had play or recreation staff and just over half provided a separate play room in or near the ward for child patients. Just a note here that these were all hospitals who provided care for children and young people. Of concern is the fact that just under 15% of those surveyed did not provide any separate play space for child patients.

AWCH made several recommendations:
  • Hospitals admitting paediatric patients should allocate a suitable space for play and recreation activities
  • Hospitals providing care for paediatric patients should employ appropriately qualified staff to conduct play activities, preparation for specific medical tests and procedures, medical play and distraction
  •  Hospitals providing care for paediatric patients should allocate appropriate play space, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • In areas where children are required to wait, suitably qualified play staff and/or suitable play or recreation space should be available to provide developmental, medical and preparation activities

So…are we doing any better in 2013? Does every hospital that cares for children and young people have play and recreation services available? What is the state of ‘play’ at your local hospital?

Anne Cutler
Program Manager AWCH