Children's Cancer Foundation

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Child Life Service,formerly Hospital Play Service

To help children with cancer through the use of play to:

  • cope with changes brought about by childhood cancer 
  • express their feelings and needs 
  • alleviate fear and anxiety 
  • maintain normal development 


  • Children with cancer who are hospitalised 
  • Children with cancer convalescing at home 
  • Parents/care-givers who require play consultation 

Services Provided

  • Regular play service in hospitals 
  • Home-based play service 
  • Play therapy 
  • Play consultation for parents/care-givers 

Therapeutic Activities
1. Procedural/treatment Preparation
Our Child Life Specialists (formerly known as Hospital Play Specialists) are trained to use age-appropriate language and materials to prepare a child for a medical experience.  Play is the most effective way to help children process potentially threatening information in a manner that reduces uncertainty, fear and anxiety.

2. Medical Play
Our Child Life Specialists (formerly known as Hospital Play Specialists) provide medical equipment and supplies to allow children to have hands-on play opportunities.  Medical play allows children to ‘play out’ their feelings and anxiety; and gain a sense of control over the threatening hospital experience.

3. Facilitate Positive Copings
Our Child Life Specialists (formerly known as Hospital Play Specialists) support the families and facilitate children to adopt coping strategies that work best for them.  Distraction, deep breathing, relaxation, music and peer support are commonly adopted.

4. Expressive Activities


5. Home Support



6. Back to School preparation

The Children's Cancer Foundation was one of the first voluntary agencies in Hong Kong to introduce hospital play in its service programmes.

The Foundation has a staff of seven Child Life Specialists (formerly known as Hospital Play Specialists), a Professional Services Manager, two Hospital Play Assistants and a team of over 50 voluntary playworkers who have received training from our professional staff.  These playworkers visit the wards on a regular basis to conduct play sessions.

In its effort to develop and create a more cheerful, comfortable and caring atmosphere for our patients in the hospitals, play areas and toy libraries are set up in the wards, where possible.  New toys, games, DVDs and books are purchased constantly to replace and add to the existing collection.

Play service is conducted at the Community Service & Rehabilitation Centre where a room has been designated for this purpose, and patients with deep-rooted emotional difficulties are sometimes given play therapy by our Child Life Specialists (formerly known as Hospital Play Specialists) or Clinical Psychologist.

A booklet on play service has been produced by the Foundation to help patients and their families understand the importance of play in their battle against cancer.  A series of therapeutic story books and specially designed play sets have been developed by the Foundation to help children adjust to hospital life and combat stressful treatment procedures.

A mobile library service is offered to in-patients at the Lady Pao Children's Cancer Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Queen Mary Hospital, allowing patients to borrow books for reading after play service hours.

More information on Child Life Service (formerly known as Hospital Play Service) can be found on the following websites of international professional bodies for Hospital Play (or Child Life):

The Association of Child Life Professionals (USA):

The Association of Child Life Therapists Australia:
National Association of Hospital Play Staff (UK):
Hospital Play Specialists Association (New Zealand):