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About Sickkids
About SickKids

March 13, 2014

A different kind of clinic; Patients become doctors at the Teddy Bear Clinic

By: Rebecca Milec

This March Break, patients at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) attended a special clinic – and they weren’t the ones going through the medical check-up! Instead, the children supported their teddy bears as the plush patients went through procedures and tests at the 6th annual Teddy Bear Clinic.

At the clinic, young health-care professionals of all ages came to diagnose and treat their furry friends to bring them back to good health. Ten stations were set up, including x-ray, “sleepy medicine”, MRI, blood testing and casting. Teddy bears were given hospital registration bands as well as a passport to keep track of all of the procedures they had.

SickKids patient Bryce Tisi, 5, had a great time taking care of his new friend Fluffy. Although Fluffy was scared during the “sleepy medicine” procedure, Bryce helped him get through it. Bryce and Fluffy visited all of the stations in the clinic, but their favourite was casting. It’s one of the most popular procedures at the clinic.

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SickKids patient Bryce Tisi, 5, gives plush patient Fluffy his “sleepy medicine” at the Teddy Bear Clinic.

“The Teddy Bear Clinic is a great way for children to familiarize themselves with hospital procedures and learn how they are performed,” says Sarah Patterson, Child Life Specialist at SickKids. “Research has shown that when kids are well prepared for tests and procedures they are more compliant, they have less trauma, and minimizes anxiety.”

The Teddy Bear Clinic is just one of the events that took place during Child Life Week, which is presented every March Break by the Child Life Department at SickKids. Events like the Teddy Bear Clinic exemplify how Child Life Specialists promote a positive hospital experience through therapeutic play, encouraging self-expression, easing anxiety and enhancing coping strategies. Hosting the event during March break also allows us the opportunity to invite siblings and other family members to participate which is important while delivering patient and family centred care, explains Kim O’Leary, Manager of Child Life at SickKids.

“These Child Life events are wonderful because they help break up the day and get him out of his room,” says Bryce’s mom, Lisa Tisi. “He has attended many of the events during Child Life Week, like the PJ party. He also visited Marnie’s Lounge for the first time to decorate cupcakes and s’mores. Bryce has really cherished those moments.”