Galway’s teddy bear community were able to access vital healthcare services this week, as the Teddy Bear Hospital returned to University of Galway after a two-year hiatus.
The triage, which was hosted by the University’s SláinteSoc, aimed to dispel the fear that many children may have of the hospital experience. The teddies were given bandages, vaccines, and even x-rays where needed.
We like to simulate the environment, it really takes away a lot of the nerves when they can see the equipment and we let them use it,” said volunteer Aoife Lawlor.
Many of the children accompanying the furry patients had never been inside a hospital before. The hope from the day is that seeing that the procedures do their teddies no harm will make their own hospital visits less scary.
“When we get the chance to slow down and explain things, they understand and it does take away that fear,” says Aoife.
The event was very popular with the patients, says SláinteSoc Public Relations Officer Siobhán O’Connell.
“They love it. They’ve really been able to use their imagination for it and the feedback we’ve gotten has been really good. Their teddies have all gone home safe and sound and all healed,” she said.
A range of conditions and injuries were on display. The sheer volume highlighted the vital role that the Teddy Bear Hospital plays in Galway’s teddy community. Car accidents, falls from bedsd, and even one patient whose symptoms put them “near death”, were diagnosed, treated, and cured at a breakneck pace.
Wait times in the Teddy Bear Hospital contrast sharply with the wider Irish health service. Wait times for the teddies were very short, averaging only ten minutes. Siobhán says that a patient typically waits spends an hour between entering and leaving the hospital.