About 350 children took their dolls this Friday to the Vila Real unit of the Centro Hospitalar de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (CHTMAD) to treat the toys and lose their fear of doctors and the white coat.
Sofia’s little plush, 5 years old, is a unicorn that had a hair on its eye and also ‘hit’ its head, so this morning both were admitted to Hospital da Fantasia, installed in the pediatrics service of CHTMAD.
“There’s a hair in the eye and it hurts a lot”, said little Sofia, in the office of doctor Andreia Dias. But this was not the only ‘illness’ of the little doll, who also hit his head and, therefore, was referred for further tests and treatment.
Sofia said that the doll was afraid to go to the hospital and fighting the fear of the white coat is precisely the objective of the Hospital da Fantasia initiative, which was decorated by balloons of various colors.
There are 358 children in the county, between 3 and 5 years old, who will visit the Vila Real unit of CHTMAD this Friday and each one brings a doll. The activity also takes place at the Chaves unit, with 35 children, and will take place on the 30th in Lamego.
In this toy hospital, every step is the same as in the real hospital. After the waiting room, the children take the dolls to the triage and are sent to the various medical offices, to pediatricians, psychologists or nutritionists, to the exam and covid-19 rooms, to the operating room and also to neonatology, where some sick little dolls were placed in incubators.
The Emergency and Resuscitation Medical Vehicle (VMER) team also demonstrated the entry of a patient into the emergency room.
For Sónia Sousa, educator at the Nuclisol Jean Piaget school, this is an “extraordinary initiative”, which helps to “get to know the reality of the hospital” and to “fight the fear of white coats that often exists in younger children”.
“They are much more comfortable with all the devices that exist here for any type of treatment. It is an initiative to praise and, if possible, to continue”, said the educator.
Many children are afraid of the hospital, because they are in a fragile situation, sick, when they arrive at the hospital.
“Our most important point is to really demystify the children coming here for the consultation, coming to the doctor. And we have generally been successful because, when they come to the consultation themselves, they remember the Hospital da Fantasia and come more comfortable, asking about things and happier”, stressed Maria do Carmo Lisboa, a kindergarten teacher at the pediatric inpatient unit and he is also responsible for the organization of Hospital da Fantasia.
Many of the sick dolls had ‘fractures’ such as ‘broken’ arms or ‘broken’ heads. But sad or obese toys also appear.
Pediatrician Andreia Dias said that a large majority of children show fear and some anxiety when they go to the doctor.
“It’s normal, it’s an environment that is different from what they’re used to, it’s people they don’t know and, in recent years, in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, with the use of the mask and cap, the distance that we have increased has increased. we have with children and it scares them,” he explained.
Here, he pointed out, children assume the role of caregivers, of parents, and it is important to realize that “the dolls arrive sick and go home treated” and that this is an environment that “is not so strange, so aggressive” and where “they can come with tranquility, without fear and to get well”.
It is also important, he added, for them to know the space, the people and the procedures.
“They are very original in the diseases they create for their dolls and they also require us to be imaginative in order to treat them”, stressed Andreia Dinis.
The initiative was organized by the pediatrics service and had the collaboration of several CHTMAD services.