Lisa Beaumont’s Story

Lisa Beaumont – Therapeutic and Specialist Play Manager

“I’ve been working for the trust for nearly 30 years and we have a large dedicated team of play staff here at the children’s hospital.  I’m responsible for the play service – 23 staff across all children’s wards/areas. I’m so excited that the charity is growing and developing as this will bring so much to the many sick children and families attending the children’s hospital.  I think it will add benefit to the team and what we can deliver which will impact on a more positive stay for children in hospital.

When a child comes into the hospital, they’re can be often very sick. Play is so important as it gives the children some choice in an abnormal environment, we offer a range of normalising activities from arts and crafts, baking, individual planned activities, computers, movie nights and so much more.

It can be a difficult environment, children are away from their friends and their home and they might be having difficult treatments. Sometimes they can be in hospital for a very long time. We try to have a family integrated approach and include siblings. I had one child who’d had a transplant and as they were getting better and doing well and their sibling came up to me and said: ‘When I can I have my transplant?’ They saw the hospital stay as being really positive experience and we try hard as a team to make this happen where we can.

“As play specialists we have three areas of work: normalising as above and preparation for procedures which we make appropriate to a child’s development/individual needs. Supporting the child and family are key within our role. The third is distraction from unpleasant procedures where we work hard to distract the child with range of skills from the procedure taking place.

I love taking children to Switzerland skiing to promote confidence after long term illness and I get so much back, watching children’s confidence grow. I’m very lucky that I have a new and exciting role where we plan to develop an outstanding play service for all our children and families, our vision as a team is to be the leading play service that uses specialised and therapeutic play to help and support children, young people and their families, achieve the best possible experience during their Leeds Children’s Hospital journey.

“I also joint manage Leeds Children Transplant Team and some of our children are selected to go to the world transplant games. I manage Team GB Transplant Juniors and we’ve been to Argentina and Malaga. I love seeing the children at the transplant games. These children think they’re the only ones who’ve had a transplant then they meet other children who have had a similar journey and it’s heart-warming to see.

I’d love to see the transplant games come to Leeds. Our team is the biggest team always and it’s because we’re so inclusive. We involve everybody and make everyone feel welcome. I’ve introduced children before and they’ve become firm friends. The support and friendship at the games is unbelievable. You can’t measure it.  I love that we can make that happen. When you see children who’ve been so very ill for often years, and you’ve seen their families struggle through that very long  journey and then a donor becomes available for them….oh my. The gift of life is just priceless. Knowing you can make a difference in that journey is wonderful.”