Buddy bears for kids in hospital

A stay at West Gippsland hospital is being made a little brighter for youngsters thanks to donations of buddy bears.

The handmade bears were delivered to the hospital’s Paediatrics and Day Surgery Units by Latrobe Community Health Service staff who run two life skills programs for work for the dole and community corrections participants.

The buddy bear bags complete with hand sewn bear, birth certificate and non-toxic marker pen are hand made by participants with support from volunteer sewing mentors.

Latrobe Community Health Service Program Facilitator Adriana Pezzutto said the bears were a great distractor for children who might be experiencing pain or stress in a strange environment.

“The program has been embraced by participants who work with volunteer sewing mentors. The participants learn valuable work and life skills and at the same time gain confidence and satisfaction in knowing their work is helping others.”

West Gippsland Healthcare Group Paediatrics Nurse Unit Manager, Franca De Sisto, thanked Latrobe Community Health Service and the participants for the buddy bears.

“Our nursing staff are highly appreciative of support that assists children and their families requiring care. It makes a real difference to their hospital experience.”

She said the hospital had a small number of volunteers who make trauma teddies for young patients and their work of these quiet achievers is highly appreciated.

“Each bear is given to the child as a gift to stay with them while in hospital and to take home.”

*For the benefit of patients, WGHG adheres to strict protocols for infection control and safety. It does not accept donations of second hand toys or crafts made from reused materials.

Photo: Buddy Bear volunteer Jenny, WGHG Paediatric Nurse Jackie, LCHS Adriana Pezzutto and WGHG Nurse Linda with the Buddy Bears.