KINDERGARTEN students in Horsham are helping Teddy, the newest patient at Wimmera Base Hospital, get better soon.
Wimmera Health Care Group organises Teddy Tours in conjunction with kindergartens in Horsham. The tours aim to make children more aware of the hospital environment and overcome the fear of visiting a doctor.
Children are taken to the emergency department, radiology and the children's ward where they meet doctors and nurses who help Teddy get better. The tours have run for decades.
Wimmera Base Hospital first-year doctor Anne Tripaydonis initiated a 'Teddy Ambulance' in May after her initial tour with the children.
"The children clearly enjoyed it but they also got so much out of it," she said.
"You could see them relax and they were asking questions and it really helped get rid of their fears."
With flashing lights and sirens, the mini Teddy Ambulance aims to enhance the Teddy Tour experience.
Wimmera Health Care Group communications manager Amelia Crafter said the tours were a great way of engaging children and making them more aware of the human body.
"It's an important part of our community engagement because it's a good learning experience for the kids. Often it would get tied into learning as part of their curriculum in kinder, so they might turn it into a learning time about the human body and skeletons," she said.
Mrs Crafter has been organising the tours for few years but this year was extra special.
"I have been in this role for seven years and I had my own kids five years ago. I had my twin boys and this week it was their turn to finally come," she said.
She said she had looked forward to taking twins Henry and Charlie on the tour.
"They were so excited to come with their classmates and show them the hospital. They held my hand around on the walk," she said.
The tour largely focused on giving a real-life experience to the children.
"Teddy is our patient," she said. "Teddy gets his temperature taken, heart and breathing checked ... all those things that could happen to them if they came in. They get to see that it doesn't hurt and it's not scary and everyone in the hospital is trying to help them.
"That's obviously important for the children and their parent or carer. It is also important for the doctors, nurses and radiologists ... anyone who is treating them - because a child who is not scared is lot easier to treat and it also makes the experience a lot easier for the child and their family."
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