This report describes the application of therapeutic play to a 4-year-old female patient with intestinal obstruction during the process of nursing. The patient suffered a Port-A in the clavicle and an ileostomy in the right upper abdomen. She cried incessantly and resisted nurses who attempted to change her dressing. Data were collected by participant observation, and it was found that the patient had problems dealing with anticipatory pain and body image and lacked an emotional outlet. Therapeutic play therefore was applied during the process of nursing in an effort to accomplish the following: (1) establish trust between the patient and the health care providers; (2) reduce the patient's fear of therapy; (3) help the patient to understand her own self-image; (4) provide an emotional outlet for her. During the nursing process, we improved her overall compliance, provided her with an emotional outlet, and helped her to understand her self-image. Through this nursing process we experienced the nature of children's play. Pediatric nurses may consider employing play as a means to communicate with patients in an effort to reduce their stress during hospitalization. Therapeutic play may also improve patient compliance with the process of nursing.
- therapeutic play