UniMelb Teddy Bear Hospital
Do you remember being young and more than a little afraid of the doctor? The Teddy Bear Hospital is here to put an end to these fears (and help heal a few sick teddy bears).
Established in 2019, the University of Melbourne Teddy Bear Hospital is run by volunteer medicine, nursing and allied health students.
Teddy Bear Hospitals are a great way for our students to gain practical medical experience. The UniMelb program is one of the only programs to offer a range of disciplines and volunteer roles, including medicine, anatomy, nursing, optometry, dentistry, audiology, physiotherapy, speech pathology, nutrition, radiology and surgery.
Fourth year physiotherapy students made their debut at the Teddy Bear Hospital in 2017. 148 Physiotherapy students volunteered to treat the teddy bears of 3600 children and helped to raise $26 429.10 for the Good Friday Appeal, a new record for the Teddy Bear Hospital.
Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, describes the Teddy Bear hospital as a program that “nurtures [student] leadership and engages the community in such a meaningful way.”
What is the Teddy Bear Hospital?
At the Teddy Bear Hospital, UniMelb students provide consultations to treat children’s ‘sick teddies’. The program provides a space for medical students to practice their communication with children, build relationships and get creative with their medical knowledge.
At a teddy consult, teddies are examined; their range of motion is tested, and children are educated on injury and injury prevention.
In rehab, teddies complete an exercise routine, and explore hydrotherapy, crutches, walking frames and balance measures.
In the final step, now that our patient is ready for activity, children practice their hand-eye coordination and get active using pom-poms and practicing bowling skills.
Parents and children are also educated on the importance of a proper backpack with a matching activity.
Where can I find the Teddy Bear Hospital?
The UniMelb, Teddy Bear Hospital is open at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville and comes alive each year at Chadstone shopping centre for the annual Teddy Winter Check-Up.