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Children 2014, 1(3), 302-317;

The Role of Play in Children’s Palliative Care

International Children's Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), Assagay 3610, South Africa
International Children's Palliative Care Network, Assagay, 3610, South Africa
Paediatric Palliative Care Service, Gaddum Centre, Manchester, M15 4AX, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 1 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Play in Children’s Health and Development)
Full-Text   |   PDF [595 KB, uploaded 1 October 2014]


Play is the universal language of childhood and the time and opportunity to play is every child’s right. The role of play as a vehicle for communication, a tool for distraction and its value in the holistic development of a normal child is without dispute. The role and value of play increase proportionately when a child is made more vulnerable through illness or disability. Despite this, providing time and opportunities to play can be overlooked or considered to be of little importance or relevance when the focus of the adult carers is the amelioration of clinical symptoms of the illness and on lessening the psychological impact the illness may have on the child. This paper outlines the role and the value of play as an integral component in the provision of palliative care for children with chronic, life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. It will show how providing appropriate equipment, sufficient time and relevant play opportunities not only improves the very sick child’s psychological wellbeing, but also allows the child to cast aside the confines and restrictions imposed upon them by their illness and for a few golden moments to be nothing more than a child at play. View Full-Text
Keywords: children; role of play; value of play; life limiting illness; life threatening illness; psychological wellbeing children; role of play; value of play; life limiting illness; life threatening illness; psychological wellbeing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Boucher, S.; Downing, J.; Shemilt, R. The Role of Play in Children’s Palliative Care. Children 2014, 1, 302-317.

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