Teddy Bear Clinic At Sidra Medicine Reduces Hospital Fear Among Children

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Fazeena Saleem |The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Internationally, child life programmes host Teddy Bear Clinics to provide developmentally appropriate learning and exploration about the health care environment.

Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation recently set up its first Teddy Bear clinic to positively impact the patient journey by decreasing the fear and anxiety often associated with going to a hospital, undergoing surgery or having a procedure.

“The Teddy Bear Clinic is a fun, engaging way for children to reduce their fears by giving their stuffed animals the care they have had, or will receive, from their healthcare team. Typically, appropriate for ages 2-12, Teddy Bear Clinics empower a child to take control of the situation, a rare occurrence for many throughout their healthcare experience,” Caroline Mcintire, Manager of Child Life at Sidra Medicine, told The Peninsula.

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The Teddy Bear Clinic unites Sidra Medicine staff, patients, and families in a fun approach to enhance emotional safety and reduce trauma associated with medical treatment for children in healthcare settings.

Patients explore medical materials and equipment through pretend play, fostering a non-threatening environment for hands-on learning. They engage in familiar or new hospital experiences, encouraging questions, conversation, and experiential learning in a safe setting.

“We were thrilled to see the positive response from all the patients and their families who joined us at the Teddy Bear clinic. We want our patients to feel reassured, comforted and empowered in understanding their care journey with us. It was a privilege to bring together patients and our medical teams, to provide an interactive and educational experience. Such events, can help minimize the traumatic effects of medical treatment for children within healthcare settings. It also highlighted Sidra Medicines unique resources as the emotional safety leader for children in Qatar,” said Mcintire.

More than 40 children and their families were part of the first Teddy Bear Clinic. According Mcintire Children had the opportunity to take their bear (or shark, turtle, cat, etc.) through several stations set up just for their furry patients. Staff explained and demonstrated how X-rays were taken, children got to help place casts and cannulas, support their furry friend while they were assessed by a nurse, receive a diagnosis from a doctor, learn the importance of doing exercises to help their plush animals begin to heal, and many more engaging activities to support learning about the hospital.

“The goal was for our patients to gain understanding about things that happen in the medical environment, have the opportunity to take back some control that is often lost in the hospital setting, and do all this while having fun. Each child also received gifts and their furry friends bravely left with their patient after receiving their discharge certificate,” said Mcintire.

Child Life Services organised Sidra Medicines first Teddy Bear Clinic in collaboration with several departments, who set up a mini version of their service in the healing garden. Some of the participating teams were Pre-Assessment Testing (PAT), Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Day Surgery Unit (DSU), Physiotherapy, Casting, Diagnostic Imaging, Vascular Management Team (VMT), Physician and Nursing, Interpreters and Unit Clerks.

According to Mcintire several patients and families were heard to say they loved the experience and wish similar opportunities were available more often.

“A patient shared their favorite activity was the blood vial wands. This activity allows the patient to use blood collection vials to make a glitter wand. By using real medical equipment associated with one of the most stressful medical occurrences for children (needle procedures), these types of activities help familiarize and further understanding in a fun way,” Mcintire said.

“Teenage patient who was previously hard to engage during recurring medical visits, happened upon the event on their way home and the patient enjoyed the event so much that the stuffed animal chosen was proudly named and is now brought to ongoing treatment appointments,” she added.


The Peninsula

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