Jul 8, 2018

"A Hospital For Bears" at Schneider Children's

Children being treated with growth hormone visited "a hospital for bears" in the Endocrinology Clinic at Schneider Children's where they accompanied the toys through medical treatment stations

The aim of the project was to diminish stress and anxiety from treatments in the clinic and to provide children with a positive experience which will influence their encounter with future medical treatments

A Hospital for Bears

A new initiative called "A Hospital for Bears" was introduced by the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Schneider Children's for children aged 4 to 8 who have received growth hormone therapy during the past 6 months. The process from medical evaluation to the actual administration of the growth hormone takes several months and includes blood tests, x-rays and guidance meetings. This is not an easy period for the child both physically and mentally and his parents and family.

The idea of a "Doll Hospital", which has existed for many years in the world of medicine, surfaced following studies conducted on reducing anxiety in children. It was found that anxiety and fear in small children is very common and the exposure to a frightening object through gameplay and the resulting positive experience can reduce stress. The aim of the initiative at Schneider Children's is to assist children to lower their fears of treatment in the endocrine clinic, through an environment of enjoyable and non-threatening play, and to give the child a pleasant experience which influences their encounters with future medical treatment.

The children are asked to bring their favorite bear or doll with them to the clinic and to undergo various station checks with them. Staff examine the toy, tell the child about the toy's fear of examinations, and allows the child to take an active part in the process, thus exposing them to the same tests they themselves undergo, such as x-rays, dressings, measurements, weight scales, injections, a meeting with "psychobear" - a talking game with a psychologist, and diet and nutrition.

The children cooperated well and were excited to treat their dolls they had brought with them and accompany them through the various tests they themselves have. After the completion of all the examinations, the child received a graduation certificate from the bear hospital and a gift.

Rotem Diamant, a nurse in the Endocrinology and Diabetes Institute headed by Prof. Moshe Phillip, said that "it was fun and exciting to provide a different and special experience to the children and their parents. The parents told me that the different and special experience began from the moment of arrival in the clinic which was decorated with balloons and the meeting and playing with the staff and their favorite toy. The event proved that it is possible and important to work together with the multidisciplinary team and the results were wonderful. I am sure that the children and their parents who visited the "bear hospital" left with lovely memories of the experience."