In a unique initiative to fight kids’ fear of visiting the doctor and the hospital particularly, Bellevue Medical Center held the third Teddy Bear Clinic on May 16.
Bellevue hosted five to six year old kids from two Lebanese schools, who visited the hospital accompanied by their own stuffed animals, to check out on their health and make them undergo the necessary medical examinations.
Originally a Swedish idea, Bellevue is a pioneer in launching this initiative in Lebanon, with the aim to help familiarize young children with the care they may experience if they have to make a trip to the hospital. Children were encouraged to have fun while learning about procedures or tests they might encounter at the hospital, in order to reduce their anxiety related to hospitals.
The clinic consisted of several stations that the kids went through via a guided route; whereas each stuffed animal received a hospital ID band and health record before getting a full health check and their vaccine by their young owners. The kids also learned about X-rays, hand hygiene, proper dieting, and proper medication, before taking a tour in the ambulance. Experts agree that often a big part of the fear is that children don’t know what to expect, or sometimes have the wrong idea about medical treatment. On another hand, children are extremely vulnerable to fear and lasting impressions, so one bad experience at a doctor’s clinic can last for very long.
This activity, which the hospital is organizing every year, aims this time to facilitate the lives of children and their families and make the visit to the doctor and the hospital a fun and routine event, instead of a nightmare for both parents and children.