LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Correspondence: Rosa María González-Ramírez
Rosa María González-Ramírez1
1Ludotecaria jubilada del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social
In part 1 of this letter I began to narrate my experience with children with cardiovascular disease hospitalized in a newly opened hospital unit and the first dynamics that we established with the support of the nursing staff: stories, puppet theater and a sociodrama.1 As time went by and the children spent time together, a favorable environment was created for them to express their doubts, sadness, and anguish during play activities, as well as their confidence in the staff and their adherence to therapeutic procedures, an indication that we were on the right track. At times, such was their confidence that they told me, "If you accompany me, I will let them draw blood."
What started as the Games Room became the first library of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. The proposal was designed based on the European trend in improving the quality of care for pediatric patients.2 It should be noted that this proposal was carried out thanks to the interest of the honorary president of voluntary social promoters at that time. The main purpose was to reduce the impact of hospitalization on children and to make hospital stay more bearable. Strategies include the hospital classroom and the use of play therapy. Both improve the emotional state of the child and the family, contribute to a decrease in their anxiety and improve the adaptation of the pediatric patient to hospitalization.
Reading stories to hospitalized children improves their feelings towards hospitalization and to the nursing staff, in addition to decreasing the children's anxiety. With regard to board games, cards, puzzles and sudoku, they require rapid changes in neuronal sequences and synapses, and improve mental abilities, which decreases anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, music develops motor, mental, and rhythmic abilities, which allow movement in disintegration of corporal segments and increases vocabulary and social behavior.3
The significance of the playroom in the hospital environment should be conceived as a space for children, parents, grandparents, health professionals, and significant adults to meet in the child's life. It is a space where the imagination, and the creativity of the hospitalized child must be promoted. It must also allow socialization, communication, and coexistence.
Therefore, the toy librarian knows that the essential activity of boys and girls consists of play, by which they become aware of the real and elaborate their own reasoning and judgment. It is the primordial way to get to know the world, its culture, and to relate with others who are the same or different from them. Play is indispensable for intellectual, social, and affective development; through it, the child expresses emotions, joys, sorrows, desires, nonconformities, and also learns to share toys, to make decisions, to participate, to abide by norms and rules and to be respected.4