Health Play Specialist

Health Play Specialist

On a health play specialist apprenticeship course, you’ll help provide therapeutic play for sick children, young people, carers and families of all ages.

You will provide therapeutic play therapies for sick infants, children, and adolescents, as well as service users, carers, and families of all ages, throughout their healthcare journey as a health play specialist.

Play methods are used to assist children in understanding their medical conditions and treatments and accepting the lifestyle changes required to manage long-term disorders.

You will work in a hospital setting to provide access to normalising play in an appropriate and safe atmosphere where developmental norms and goals may be reached and maintained.

Play will be used to communicate with the children, and it may take the form of spoken, written, nonverbal, or technology-assisted communication. When you analyse, watch, play, evaluate, and report on the connections you find for the safeguarding process, you must be objective, and you may be called to testify in family court.

What you’ll learn

On a health play specialist apprenticeship course, you’ll learn to:

  • Ensure that your records are complete, precise, accurate, and up to date.
  • Recognise and report any problems that may jeopardise safe and effective play provision.
  • Accept responsibility for continuous self-reflection and seeking and responding to help and criticism to improve professional knowledge and skills.
  • Demonstrate evidence-based practice in all registration skills and processes: HPSET is an abbreviation for High Performance (2019)
  • Act as an advocate for their profession and help build public confidence in health play services.
  • Recognise signs of vulnerability in oneself or colleagues and take the appropriate precautions to minimise health risks.
  • Establish, manage, and maintain appropriate relationships with people, their families, carers, and colleagues.
  • Report any situations, behaviours, or errors that may have a negative impact.
  • Promote behaviours and provide knowledge via play methods to help children, young people, and their families make informed choices to improve their mental, physical, and behavioural health and wellbeing.
  • Use knowledge, communication, and relationship management skills to provide accurate information to children, adolescents, families, and caregivers before, during, and after a range of play interventions.
  • Recognise when a person’s capacity has changed and how it affects their ability to make decisions about their care and to give or deny permission.
  • Recognise individuals in danger of abuse, self-harm, and/or suicide thoughts, as well as the circumstances that may place them and others at risk.
  • In cooperation with children, youth, families, and caregivers, assess the effectiveness of play by documenting progress and reporting findings.
  • Assume personal responsibility for providing necessary information in line with local regulations, taking quick action to offer adequate protection, and filing complaints.
  • To help individuals, collaborate with other professionals to encourage shared decision-making.
  • Meet children’s and teenagers’ needs for safety, dignity, privacy, comfort, and play.
  • Assist those suffering from typical symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, discomfort, and pain.
  • Cooperate and collaborate in interdisciplinary teams with specialists from many agencies.
  • Keep a safe working and playing environment.
  • Report risks in line with local and national organisational structures, rules, and regulations, and implement appropriate actions, following up and escalating as necessary.
  • Using current assessment techniques, conduct accurate risk assessments in line with organisational policy and procedures.
  • Respond to and escalate potential threats to the safety of children, adolescents, and adults.
  • Participate in data collection to support audit operations and implement quality improvement strategies.
  • Manage one’s workload, as well as recognise which parts of care may be appropriately outsourced to colleagues, carers, and family members.
  • Support, supervise, and act as a role model for health play specialist students, members of other professional teams, and people new to care professions, all while evaluating the quality of the play they provide, promoting reflection, and providing constructive feedback.
  • Participate in team reflection activities to improve practice and service.
  • Access, input, and apply information and data using various methods, including digital technology, and distribute it appropriately within a multidisciplinary team.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • Depending on the employer, but likely A-levels or equivalent qualifications or relevant experience.
  • Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this before taking the end-point assessment.

Assessment methods

The End Point Assessment comprises three distinct assessment methods: 

  • Knowledge Test
  • Observation 
  • Professional discussion underpinned by portfolio

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

Duration, level, subjects and potential salary upon completion

  • Duration: 24 months
  • Level: 5 – Higher Apprenticeship
  • Relevant school subjects: Science
  • Potential salary upon completion: £22,500

Apprenticeship standard

More information about the Level 5 Health Play Specialist Apprenticeship standard can be found here.

Apprenticeship end point assessment

For more information about the End Point Assessment Process, please read the Institute of Apprenticeships’ information page.

Updated on January 23, 2024

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