Above: Physios and Occupational Therapists from Ward 23 celebrate the launch of Active Advent at the Freeman Fruit Stand
Newcastle Hospitals Charity is delighted to be supporting Ward 23 and PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) at the Freeman Hospital with their new festive project, ‘Active Advent’, by supplying funding for the project to buy materials and craft supplies, as well as prizes for participants.
This alternative advent calendar is aimed at children and their loved ones spending time on Ward 23 at the Freeman – the Children’s Heart Unit, as well as PICU. Often, children and their families can spend months on this Unit, with their conditions meaning there are limited opportunities for exercise and healthy movement. Active Advent hopes to engage these young patients in healthy habits during the festive countdown, both through movement and wellbeing activities. Staff are also encouraged to take part.
Karen Caulfield, Clinical Specialist Paediatric Cardiothoracic Physiotherapist, who founded Active Advent said:
“The dark nights and many sweet treats in the run up to Christmas make many of us want to hibernate and veer off our potentially more healthy ways. As I was unwrapping a chocolate from the tub on the ward I started to think about the impact that less moving and more eating would have not only on my body but my mental health too.”
“I work in in a busy children’s PICU and ward unit where emotions run to both ends of the scale regularly and after a particularly tough year I know I am not alone in feeling the need for some changes to help my health and wellbeing. Some of our patients and families stay for many months the toll this can take on them is clear to see.”
Karen added: “There will be a different activity each day, that can be tailored to each person’s ability and circumstances. For each activity day that an individual does, they can put their name in a hat and have the possibility of winning a prize. There has been a buzz about it across the Unit with lots of positive comments. This in my mind is positive in itself, as talking about the challenges and incentives has allowed people to think about what matters to them.”
It has been a true team effort, with Karen being supported by other physios and Occupational Therapists, as well as Play Specialists.
This project has also been supported by CHUF, who have also donated prizes.
I work in in a busy children’s PICU and ward unit where emotions run to both ends of the scale regularly and after a particularly tough year I know I am not alone in feeling the need for some changes to help my health and wellbeing.Karen Caulfield Clinical Specialist Paediatric Cardiothoracic Physiotherapist