MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- A trip to the emergency room may be a scary experience, especially for young children. However, Northern Westchester Hospital's annual Teddy Bear Clinic is turning fear into fun and providing parents and children with a behind-the-scenes tour of the state-of-the-art facility.
"Just like a doctor's office, the hospital can be seen as a scary place," said Maureen Munson, patient care manager of NWH's Emergency Department. "This clinic gives children the opportunity to see the facilities before they have the need to use them."
At the beginning of the tour, guests, both real and stuffed, arrive at the hospital and are admitted to the ER. "We provide children and their furry friends the experience of a patient," said Amy Rosenfeld, youth program coordinator for NWH's Department of Community Health, Education & Outreach. After being triaged by a nurse, "patients" will observe stitching, IV therapy and casting. Doctors and staff examine x-rays with children, and for injured bears, pediatricians provide any "necessary care."
After completing the tour, visitors can learn how to stay safe and avoid having to visit the emergency room at a later date. "At our health fair, children will be able to participate in interactive health and wellness activities including first aid, hand hygiene and nutrition," said Rosenfeld. "Children will also have the opportunity to visit with one of our NWH therapy dogs, Blip." Westchester County Police and EMS will also be in attendance, providing parents with bicycle safety tips and guiding children through ambulance tours.
"Events like this are important because we are a community hospital; we need to know the people that live in our area," said Munson. "I think we have done an awesome job staying true to our community roots for all our staff and patients." For Rosenfeld, creating bonds that go beyond the ER is what matters most. "It's nice for the community and staff to provide and share fond memories," she said. "Through the clinic, we're able to develop these wonderful relationships."
The 2017 Northern Westchester Teddy Bear Clinic will be held on April 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with the final tour beginning at 11:15 a.m. Admission is free, but guests are strongly encouraged to RSVP online.
To find a physician, contact Northern Westchester Hospital: 877-469-4362, or request online.