The Bear Hospital
photography: Tomi Harpaz
It is a long process of several months from medical examinations to the actual administration of growth hormone for each child who must undergo blood tests, x-rays and guidance meetings. This is not an easy period for the child both physically and mentally as well as 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 a positive experience can reduce stress. The aim of the initiative at Schneider Children’s is to assist children to lower their fears in the endocrine clinic, through an environment of fun and non-threatening play, while giving the child a satisfying experience which influences further treatments.
The children were asked to bring their favorite bear or doll with them to the clinic and to undergo checks at various stations with them. Staff examined the toy, and told the child about the toy’s fear of examinations. The child took an active part in the whole process, exposing the toy to the same tests they themselves undergo: 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. After the completion of all the examinations, each child received a graduation certificate from the bear hospital and a gift.
Nurse Rotem Diamant said that “it was fun and exciting to provide a different experience to the children and their parents. From the moment of arrival in the clinic which was decorated with balloons, the children had fun 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. The results were wonderful and I am sure that the children and their parents left with happy memories of a lovely experience.”