Fighting Cancer with Children’s Games

At Shaukat Khanum Hospitals, our staff know that half the battle with cancer is psychological. That’s why we go out of our way to boost patient morale – particularly with children.

You might have seen one of our social media posts last month, about how some of our paediatric patients enjoyed a fun-filled day at Bounce and Super Space. Some of our supporters were curious to know why hospital staff took a group of child patients to Lahore’s Packages Mall.

The outing wasn’t uncommon. At Shaukat Khanum Hospitals, we organise various activities for children undergoing cancer treatment. We also provide play therapy and give them the opportunity to continue their education while undergoing prolonged cancer care. All of this is a way to promote the emotional well-being of child patients and help boost their morale.

It’s hard to imagine what goes through a child’s mind as he/she goes through intensive treatment – an ordeal which is often harrowing even for adults. That’s why psychological and social support is vital. And it’s an important part of the holistic care we provide with hospital staff like Bushra.

Bushra is a play therapist at our Lahore hospital. Her job is to address the psychological issues that come up as side effects of cancer treatment. When she joined Shaukat Khanum Hospital, she was among the first few play therapists in Pakistan.

“The basic idea of play therapy is to keep children psychologically stable as they go through prolonged cancer treatment,” Bushra explains. “A number of psychological issues come up as side effects of cancer treatment, all of which we cannot eliminate. But over here, we attempt to distract them and keep them engaged in various activities to make the psychological effect of treatment a little easier on them.”

Counselling goes a long way in helping children win the psychological battle that can often crush the spirits of a cancer patient. As do the child support groups, we have for the kids. These groups encourage bonds between child patients and motivate them to help each other out. They are vital to inspiring strength and coping strategies.

“Kids learn through looking at others,” Bushra explains while elaborating the importance of group child therapy. “If a child sees another child holding their cannula well, or performing their activities, they get encouraged to do the same. And it is amazing to see the friendships and bonds that develop among kids here.”

Outings and activities, like the one to Bounce and Super Space, help to develop these vital bonds and support systems. And for children who are often stuck in hospital for months on end, they’re a breath of fresh air and something to look forward to.

Thank you for supporting our work. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help a child patient receive free treatment for cancer, see our Sponsor a Patient Appeal.

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