Where do you go when Teddy’s pain is un-bear-able? The Teddy Bear Hospital!

The Teddy Bear Hospital is a unique educational program for children and health care students. Established in 2009, it is run by volunteer medicine, nursing and allied health students at the University of Melbourne.

Teddy Bear Hospital Coordinator, Maleck Louis, has been involved with the educational program for the past five years. He first got involved as a volunteer and loved it so much he decided he wanted to stay involved and have a direct influence on the future directions.

He’s seen the Teddy Bear Hospital grow in size and importance over the years and this year he is proud to lead the program as a joint coordinator.

We spoke to him about his involvement with the Teddy Bear Hospital.

Hi Maleck, thanks for talking to us about the Teddy Bear Hospital – since being involved what has the training provided you?

Through teaming up with children to care for their teddy bears, the Teddy Bear Hospital has given me the opportunity to develop crucial communication skills that will be essential for when I start working at the hospital next year as an intern. It also very nicely demonstrates the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Finally, the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that stickers and bubbles make the world go round!

Teddy Bear Hospital Coordinator, Maleck Louis

What do you enjoy about the Teddy Bear Hospital sessions?

Being able to devote my attention to the child in front of me, make them feel special, and safe in the healthcare setting. The most rewarding aspect of Teddy Bear Hospital is hearing feedback from the parents about how our events have helped alleviate their child’s anxiety when they need to see the doctor or be admitted into hospital.

During a check-up what can teddy expect?

We provide a comprehensive health check-up for our teddy bears starting off with an initial consultation at our triage station where teddy’s height and weight are measured. Teddy is then sent to our Teddy Lab where we learn about the importance of hand washing.

Teddy Doctors then thoroughly assess teddy and refer them on for X-ray scans and a consultation with our allied health professionals. Our allied health teams include teddy physios, optometrists, nurses, dentists, audiologists, speech pathologists and music therapists.

Finally, teddy can learn more about operations and intensive care at our very own Teddy Surgery and Teddy ICU stations.

We know you have a lot of teddies visit the hospital – but who else has come for a check-up?
We see all different types of furry friends in our hospital however, my favourite would be a matchbox car that was brought in with a wobbly wheel. Captain America also made an appearance, suggesting that even superheroes need to visit the doctors from time to time!

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