Teddy Bear Hospital

It wasn’t a Teddy Bear’s picnic, but you could have been forgiven for thinking it was! On October 26th, the Moira Community Rehabilitation Centre was over-run by 151 Teddy Bears and their proud owners. Cobram District Health, in conjunction with Melbourne University’s Rural Health department in Shepparton, held their second annual Teddy Bear hospital event and invited the prep aged students from 7 local schools to attend. The day was fast, furious and fun!

The core aim of the Teddy Bear Hospital is to familiarise children to health care environments and medical treatments in a fun and interactive way! By creating a positive interaction between the child and the “Teddy Doctor”, the Teddy Bear Hospital aims to overcome fears and anxieties children may hold concerning the hospital environment and its health professionals. At the same time, The Cobram District Health Teddy Bear Hospital also endeavours to educate children and promote healthy lifestyle behaviours including healthy eating, exercise and good dental health.

All these objectives are achieved through mock medical consultation scenarios in which children (acting as doting parents!) bring their beloved teddy bear or soft toy to the Teddy Bear Hospital for a check-up! The teddy bears also participated in a  visit from the local ambulance officers and learnt how to call the ambulance if help was needed.

But it is not only the kids who benefit from this program! The Teddy Bear Hospital also plays a pivotal role for future young doctors, nurses and allied health professionals in developing the unique interactive skills required to engage successfully with children. The program has been considered such a valuable learning tool for students that it is now a permanent fixture of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) curriculum at the University of Melbourne.