Teddy bear hospital: Hospital for cuddly toys reopens in Vienna from December 5 to 7, 2023

Bild: MedUni Wien/APA/Hautzinger
Bild: MedUni Wien/APA/Hautzinger

For the 20th time, the Teddy Bear Hospital, a collaboration between MedUni Vienna, the Austrian Medical Students’ Association. The aim of the Teddy Bear Hospital campaign is to take away children’s fear of visiting a doctor or staying in hospital in a playful way. Children therefore have the opportunity to come with their cuddly toys, teddies or dolls on these three days and accompany them through the "hospital" as "assistant doctors". In this way, they can actively participate and at the same time overcome their fear of visiting a doctor.

The kids and their cuddly toys are looked after by more than 50 "Teddy-Docs", students from MedUni Vienna. The course of treatment corresponds to the reality in a hospital - from admission to discharge of the "patients". The Austrian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) prepares stations such as an ECG station for measuring heart activity, a dental clinic and operating theaters. The children not only accompany their stuffed animal, they can also actively assist in the treatment of the teddies. The Academic Association of Austrian Pharmacists (AFÖP) will once again provide insights into the workings of a pharmacy and is delighted to once again be part of the Teddy Bear Hospital to give the children an insight into the pharmacy process and show them what medicines look like and how they are made.
Psychology students from the University of Vienna are also new to the project. On the one hand, the aim is to show in a playful way which areas psychology deals with and which problems can be addressed to psychologists, and on the other hand, more attention can be paid to the emotional confrontation of the children during the "hospital visit" and the treatment of their little "patients".

Reduce nervousness during real hospital visits

"The Teddy Bear Hospital has established itself as a permanent institution and owes its success to the extraordinary personal commitment of our students," explains Anita Rieder, Vice Rector for Teaching at MedUni Vienna. "The children not only have a lot of fun, but also learn in a playful way how a complex operation like a hospital works. They can use these positive experiences later on during a real visit to the hospital or a doctor’s surgery to deal with the processes more calmly. This helps to reduce anxiety and supports not only the children, but also their parents and the medical staff."

Johannes Steinhart, President of the Medical Chamber, is delighted that the Teddy Bear Hospital is taking place on the premises of the Medical Chamber of Vienna again after a long time and that many children can have their stuffed animals examined. "There is always a special atmosphere when the children come to visit us for three days in the meeting rooms of the Medical Chamber, because they are always very serious about it." The teddy bear hospital not only provides added educational value, "but also shows the young visitors how to deal with health issues in a playful way and can thus also reduce possible fears of visiting a doctor or hospital". It can also help to arouse interest in this special profession: "Perhaps some of our young guests would like to become a doctor later on - the children’s curiosity about what happens in a hospital and examination ward is certainly very high," says Medical Association President Steinhart.

Date: Teddy Bear Hospital 2023

Tuesday, 5.12. to Thursday, 7.12. 2023 (9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm, admission free - suitable for children aged four to eight, no registration required for individuals in the afternoon), Ärztekammer für Wien, Weihburggasse 10-12, 1010 Vienna. The organizers ask that children bring their own slippers or sports shoes.

The mornings are reserved for registered school classes or kindergarten groups, in the afternoon individual children can also come spontaneously with their teddy bears, favorite dolls and cuddly toys. The visit to the hospital lasts around an hour and is suitable for children between the ages of four and eight; admission is free.