Avera Medical Minute AM: Teddy Bears and Healthy Habits - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute AM: Teddy Bears and Healthy Habits

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Most people learn by doing so hospital staff at Avera Marshall use this same concept to teach elementary students some very valuable lessons.

No, you're not mistaken, that is a teddy bear on a stretcher.

"What if we run it across his four head like this and we'll see what his temperature is ." Said Stacy Neubeck with Avera Marshall community relations.

For the day at least, the patients at Avera Marshall are of the stuffed variety. That's because for the past 25 years, the hospital has played host to Teddy Bear Clinics for the local schools.

"It gives children an opportunity to learn about what the hospital is all about before they actually maybe have to come and use it at some point in their life." Said JoAnn Coover, a nurse and infection preventionist at Avera Marshall.

"Yeah they don't make special cuffs for teddy bears do they?" Said Neubeck.

The hospital can be a very scary place, especially for children. The Teddy Bear Clinics help calm a few fears and give kids a hands on experience to what goes on at the hospital.

"The kids can actually feel and touch blood-pressure cuffs and we have a little syringe there they can hold the different things that might be used to the can actually get some hands-on touch feel and understand what it's all about." Said Coover.

"There's three breaks in this bone so this is a pretty bad broken arm." Said Neubeck.

For many kids it's hard to learn from reading a book or watching a video, these clinics make the lessons both fun and educational.

"We want to introduce them to the fact of what is an x-ray? What is a cast? So we cast them and we have them bring in their teddy bears so that we can patch them up." Said Coover.

Hospital staff spend the afternoon casting everything from monkeys to puppies to teddy bears. Each child also gets their wrist plastered so they get the full experience.

"I think it really helps them it makes them aware of the different professions and how many people would be coming to visit them in the hospital." said Laurie VanOverbeke, a 2nd grade teacher for the Lynd Public Schools.

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful Tuesday afternoon to wash our hands! wash our hands!" Sings Coover.

Ask any surgeon and they'll tell you hand washing is the most important habit. The Teddy Bear Clinics literally shine a bright light on the topic.

"You did a great job on your fingertips and let's turn your hands over and the palms in your hands you can see that into the center you have to do a little more friction otherwise you did a fantastic job!" Said Coover.

Sometimes all it takes is a little glow in the dark soap to make the message stick.

Coover: What three things do we need to remember?

Kids: Soap, water, and friction!

Coover: And how long do we wash our hands for?

Kids: 20 seconds!

"I encourage them to become ambassadors for hand hygiene as I go out into the world and we do this particularly because we know that a lot of adults don't take the time to wash their hands like they should so if we can get them started young that's very important." Said Coover.

The Teddy Bear Clinics are all about getting kids actively involved in their health. Judging by the popularity of these lessons Teddy Bear surgery will continue to be a specialty at Avera Marshall.

Joann Coover says the program started as a way for the hospital to reach out to the community. She never imagined it would last for more than 25 years. For more information about the teddy bear clinics just call 877-AT-AVERA.

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