(Vienna, 26 November 2018) The 18th Teddy Bear Hospital will be opening its doors for three days on 5 December (opening times on each day: 9-12:00 and 13-16:00 hrs, Vienna Medical Association, Weihburggasse 10-12). It is a joint initiative between MedUni Vienna, the Austrian Medical Students' Association (AMSA), Vienna Medical Association, St John's Ambulance and the Academic Association of Austrian Pharmacists. The aim of the Teddy Bear Hospital initiative is to use the medium of play to overcome children's fear of visiting the doctor or going into hospital. On these three days, children are therefore invited to bring along their cuddly toys, teddy bears or dolls and personally escort them through the hospital or even take an active role as "junior doctors" – while at the same time losing their fear of doctors.
The children and their cuddly toys will be looked after by more than 50 "teddy bear doctors", students from MedUni Vienna. The procedure for the treatments mimics the reality of a hospital – from admission through to discharge of the "patients". For example, there will be an ECG for measuring cardiac activity, a dental clinic and operating theatres. The children do not merely accompany their teddy bears but are able to act as junior doctors and play an active role in their treatment. And St John's Ambulance will run through resuscitation exercises with the children, show them an emergency ambulance and describe all its functions.
Hospital visit? No problem!
"The Teddy Bear Hospital has become a regular institution at our university and is supported by a high level of personal commitment from our medical students," says Anahit Anvari-Pirsch, Deputy Curriculum Director at MedUni Vienna. "Children are able to learn about the sometimes-complex procedures in a hospital in a playful and fun way so that, when they really have to visit their doctor or a hospital, they can use their positive experiences as a resource and be much more relaxed about what goes on there – without any anxiety. This not only helps the children but also their parents and the doctors treating them. Even though it is fun, the children take it all very seriously."
Medical Association President, Thomas Szekeres, is delighted to host the Teddy Bear Hospital once again this year: "It is always a very special atmosphere when the Medical Association's convention centre is turned into a 'Children's Hospital' for three days." From a doctor's perspective, it is important to take the fear out of visiting the doctor or hospital while children are still young and to give the next generation a positive impression of the medical profession. Says Szekeres: "Hopefully we will be helping top doctors of the future to take their first steps or make their first 'incisions'. Whatever the case, we are looking forward to meeting every single one of our young guests."
Event: Teddy Bear Hospital 2018
Wednesday 5 – Friday 7 December 2018 (9 - 12:00 and/or 13 - 16:00 hrs., admission free – suitable for children aged between 4 and 8 years (individuals need not book), Vienna Medical Association, Weihburggasse 10-12, 1010 Vienna. You are kindly requested to bring slippers or trainers with you.
The mornings are reserved for pre-booked school parties but, in the afternoon, individual children can drop in unannounced with their teddy bears, favourite dolls or soft toys. The hospital visit lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for kids aged between 4 and 8 years – admission is free.