Ong Lynn1, Chua Khoon Han1, Soh Jian Yi2 & Aw Marion Margaret Hui Yong2

1Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore; 2Department of Paediatrics, Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children’s Medical Institute, National University Health System

Abstract

Background: Teddy Bear Hospital (TBH) was initiated to address children’s fear through role-play. We aim to assess effectiveness of Singapore TBH sessions in decreasing childhood anxiety and enhancing their healthcare knowledge.

Methodology: We performed a cross sectional descriptive study of children (5-8 years) participating in TBH between March and May 2016. Each child completed two multiple-choice questionnaires with pictorial aids. The first survey assessed baseline knowledge and feelings towards healthcare, whilst the second survey assessed the same knowledge and how feelings towards healthcare may have changed after attending TBH.

Results: Data from 334 completed surveys were collected. We excluded 82 children with incomplete data, leaving data from 252 children for analysis; 96 pre-school (38.1%) and 156 primary school (61.9%).

Most children did not have negative feelings towards visiting the doctor or hospital before TBH. Children with positive feelings towards visiting the doctor and hospital increased from 82.5% to 94.4% (p-value <0.001) and 70.2% to 73.4% (p-value 0.035) respectively.

After TBH, majority of children (57.9%) improved scores in knowledge-related questions. Children who answered all knowledge-related questions correctly increased from 81 (32.1%) to 185 (73.4%)  Children in primary school (OR 3.08, 95% CI 1.66 – 5.70) and those who wanted to visit the doctor (OR 3.38, 95% CI 1.08 – 10.55) were more likely to obtain full marks in knowledge-related questions.

Conclusion: We found that most Singaporean children were positive towards healthcare encounters. A TBH experience was able to further increase this number, as well as increase their healthcare knowledge.

Keywords:            Teddy Bear Hospital, Singapore, Hospital Role-play, Childhood Anxiety, Educational Tool

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