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About Sickkids
About SickKids

March 14, 2013

Patients become doctors-for-the-day at the SickKids Teddy Bear Clinic

Marissa with her mom, helping her bear Twinkle Toes make a full recovery
Marissa with her mom, helping her bear Twinkle Toes make a full recovery

By Sydney Clark 

This snowy March Break some of Toronto’s teddy bear population was feeling a little under the weather inside the walls of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Luckily the junior MDs were at the ready to provide the best care for their plush patients.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 13, SickKids patients learned how to diagnose, treat, and care for their teddies at the fifth annual Teddy Bear Clinic, hosted by the Child Life Department. Our SickKids kids led their cuddly friends through a typical day at the hospital, but this time they were the ones performing the checkups. Patients admitted their bears, triaged them, performed X-rays and MRIs, and some bears even needed casting – everyday realities for some kids in hospital.

Marissa, 8 and her bear Twinkle Toes were taking part in the clinic on behalf of her older brother who was too sick to come down from his room.

“I really liked this event today because it told me if my bear is healthy or not.”

After getting an X-ray on his tummy, taking a sample of his blood, and going through the MRI machine Marissa told us that the diagnosis was, “Twinkle Toes has to go for sleep for now.”

The Child Life Department developed this event for both patients and their families to help familiarize them with the hospital, and promote strategies to reduce stress and cope with hospitalization.

“Research demonstrates that when you better prepare patients for hospitalization through real life events where they witness what a procedure looks like, they produce better results such as being more compliant in the hospital, as well as experiencing less trauma,” says Sarah Patterson, Child Life Specialist at SickKids.

The Teddy Bear Clinic is also designed to help calm potential anxieties patients may have about medical and surgical procedures. One of the stations today provided kids with a tool to help explain their level of pain while getting a needle. The kids were able to point to pictures of different facial emotions, expressing anything from minor pain to the worst pain in their life.

By the end of the day, all bears were on the road to recovery, and the patients left with smiles on their faces and a healthy friend in hand.