Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

‘Teddy Bear’ Hospital to Alleviate Doctor Phobia

‘Teddy Bear’ Hospital to Alleviate Doctor Phobia

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 - 08:00
A teddy is measured at the Teddy Bear Hospital in the AMC Hospital in Amsterdam on November 6, 2012. The Teddy Bear Hospital aims to make children comfortable with hospitals and doctors. (Lex Van Lieshout/EPA)

A «Teddy Bear» hospital opened on Monday in Vienna. The hospital’s aim is not to repair torn toys, but to receive children with their favorite puppet, to show them how things run in clinics and hospitals in order to overcome the so-called "doctor phobia", or the fear and panic kids feel when they are sick and need to go to a doctor or hospital, so they can resist such traumas.

The hospital receives young patients as chaperone of their favorite toy, which will be examined by doctors as a real patient who suffers from aches requiring doctor's examination.

Teddy Bear, located at the Doctors 'Union’s headquarters in the first district in Vienna, employs 50 specialized doctors, and students from the medical school at the University of Vienna, which manages the three-day project in collaboration with the Pharmacists' Syndicate.

The main idea is that the child takes his favorite puppet as a patient to the doctor, observes the details of its treatment, and how the doctor examines, and keep up with the various stages that may be required, starting by checking blood pressure, pulse, and conducting heart and head analyses, along with injections, imaging, and other treatments required for each disease. There are also visits to the dentistry department that feature all kinds of teeth-related treatments. An emergency department has also been established to show what happens in cases of accidents using a children-appropriate language with no lies or tricks.

In this context, the hospital idea has been implemented as a joint project between doctors and families so that young children understand what happens inside clinics and hospitals, as these visits are unavoidable, and require firmness and cooperation between the doctor and the patient along with confidence without fear or panic, to allow the doctor to do his work quickly and accurately.

The goal is to offer young children between four and eight years the opportunity to ask any questions they have, identify medical equipment and different body organs, and understand how they work, which will motivate them to take care of their health.

The hospital dedicates morning hours for visits schools of groups, and afternoons for individuals. It also provides bears and puppets for those who do not have one. Admission is free so that the largest number of children can live this experience, especially after the success this idea achieved. This year saw the Teddy Bear Hospital’s 17th edition.

Children are required to take off their shoes outside and put on shoes like those used by doctors inside the hospital, in order to understand the risk of germs carried by shoes from outside to their house.

Editor Picks