TEDDY bears sometimes need a check-up too – and Poole Hospital is offering just that.
Children attending the Longfleet Road hospital for an appointment or a visit are invited to bring along their bear for a free health check-up next week.
On Monday and Tuesday, hospital play specialists will be on hand to ensure their fuzzy friends are in tip top condition as part of activities to mark National Play in Hospital Week, which starts on Monday (October 9).
Play specialists are specially-trained staff who help children to understand what can be a daunting and worrying experience, using play to take away the worry and fear.
“The play specialist role prepares children for what can be a scary or uncomfortable time – either just coming into hospital or a procedure or test,” said play specialist, Debbie Daniels.
“We can even distract them while they’re having the procedure, using play as a tool.”
Any child can bring their favourite soft toy to the dome area of the hospital on Monday and Tuesday (October 9 and 10) from 9am to 4pm to meet members of the play specialist team.
Children will each be given a doctor’s bag to keep, which includes bandages, plasters, a face mask, surgical hat, staff ID badge, syringe, ‘medicine’ bottle, health chart and patient wristband.
Youngsters will also be able to try out one of the latest tools available to play specialists – virtual reality goggles – which can transport children to beaches, pirate ships and dinosaur-filled lands as part of the distraction technique.
“We want to try to normalise the hospital experience so it’s less scary, by explaining in a child-friendly way what happens in a hospital, what is going to happen to them, the equipment involved and just talk through the whole journey,” Debbie added.
“We have children that are crying when they come in and crying when they leave because they don’t want to go home.
“We use soft toys on the children’s unit to demonstrate things like dressings, casts and blood tests, and we’re looking forward to meeting many more teddies and other soft toys, together with their owners, on Monday and Tuesday next week.
“We want to show as many children as possible, particularly those who may be anxious about the idea of having to come into hospital as a patient, that it isn’t as scary as they may think.”