More than 1,000 children brought their soft toys to the Teddy Bears’ Hospital
(Vienna, 9 December 2015) Record number of visitors to the Teddy Bear' Hospital: last Tuesday and Wednesday more than 1,000 kids aged between four and eight years brought their soft toys and dolls to the Teddy Hospital. This was the 15th time that this event had been run in the Vienna Medical Association. Vice Rector for Education at MedUni Vienna, Anita Rieder, and President of the Vienna Medical Association, Thomas Szekeres, were the prominent assistants in the various hospital wards on Wednesday. The aim of the "Teddy Bears’ Hospital" project, which is organized by the Austrian Medical Students‘ Association (AMSA) together with MedUni Vienna, the Vienna Medical Association, the Academic Association of Austrian Pharmacists and the Workers’ Samaritan Organisation (ASB), is to help kids aged between four and eight years to overcome their fear of visiting the doctor or going to hospital. The children and their teddies (or dolls or stuffed animals) are welcomed at the exciting stations by around 50 teddy doctors (students from MedUni Vienna) – these range from the emergency ambulance, via the x-ray and first aid unit to the dental clinic and the "real" operating theatre. In all these places the kids were able to get involved and help out as assistants. This included assisting with operations, with CT scanning or putting on dressings and bandages – and for more serious "operations" there were surrogate teddies available to be opened up and sewn back up again with the doctors help. "The Teddy Bears' Hospital is a great project and one that the Medical University of Vienna is very happy to support. The positive feedback received from many parents indicates that, immediately after their visit, children were much less fearful about visiting their doctor or going to hospital," says Anita Rieder. "The positive experiences that the children have with their teddies help them later on when they really have to visit the hospital – and this not only helps the children themselves but also their parents and the doctors treating them." "I think the Teddy Bears’ Hospital is great and is also very important. Special thanks are due to the AMSA, which organizes this event every year with a great deal of commitment. The Teddy Bears' Hospital gives the children a positive experience of hospitals. It is primarily about showing the children what happens in a hospital or examination situation, without affecting them directly," underscores Medical Association President, Thomas Szekeres. Dissertation on the Teddy Bears' Hospital The children's experiences have been recorded and scientifically analyzed since 2014 as part of a dissertation. This is intended to document the success of the event and optimize the methods employed for future Teddy Bears’ Hospitals. The dissertation is being written by Bert Engelhardt of the AMSA and supervised by Ulrike Salzer-Muhar of the Education Department at the University Department of Paediatrics of MedUni Vienna and Renate Fuiko (Department of Clinical Psychology at the University Department of Paediatrics of MedUni Vienna).