Teddies get health check-up

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Kim­ber­ley Price

Go­ing to the doc­tor can be a daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for any­one, but for the chil­dren of Co­bram, the process is now a whole lot eas­ier with the help of some vol­un­teers.

Teddy Bear Hospi­tal is an ini­tia­tive co-or­di­nated by the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne’s Depart­ment of Pae­di­atrics and aims to re­duce child­hood anx­i­ety about med­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments.

For the two-hour event, Prep stu­dents took their teddy bears to Co­bram District Health, where they role play a con­sult with re­cent grad­u­ates and med­i­cal stu­dents from Mel­bourne Univer­sity who have vol­un­teered their time.

This is the first year that Teddy Bear Hospi­tal has run, with staff from both the schools and Co­bram District Health prais­ing the event.

Co­bram District Health com­mu­nity ser­vices man­ager Karen Har­ris said the ini­tia­tive was a great suc­cess.

‘‘Teddy Bear Hospi­tal helps cre­ate pos­i­tive health­care in­ter­ac­tion to help chil­dren over­come any fears or anx­i­eties re­lat­ing to health ser­vices or work­ers,’’ she said.

‘‘It helps our next gen­er­a­tion of med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers to de­velop key com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­ter­ac­tion skills for work­ing with chil­dren.’’

The in­valu­able day saw the chil­dren learn about healthy eat­ing and life­styles from the vol­un­teers in a fun and in­ter­ac­tive en­vi­ron­ment. The teddy bears were treated by a doc­tor and a den­tist, with the chil­dren get­ting to lis­ten to their bear’s heart­beat, check their teeth and ask lots of ques­tions.

Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria brought along an am­bu­lance to the event and the chil­dren got to see the in­side of the ve­hi­cle and meet paramedics.

With more than 140 chil­dren from six schools in the district and four med­i­cal vol­un­teers, the ini­tia­tive was a fan­tas­tic learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all involved.

Co­bram District Health hopes all the teddy bears are feel­ing bet­ter.

Good ad­vice: Co­bram District Health med­i­cal in­tern Mah­moud Yous­eff with Tungamah Pri­mary School stu­dents Ty Dick­ens and Harry Wren.

Teddy check-up: Co­bram District Health speech pathol­o­gist Jane Bouch­ier treats a teddy bear un­der the watch­ful eyes of Co­bram Pri­mary School stu­dents Jaydee Nathan and Emily Auld.

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