The Buddy Bears program at Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Mo., has earned the “Award for Excellence” from the Midwest Association for Healthcare Resource Professionals. The award was presented Thursday, Nov. 8, during an awards luncheon at the Missouri Hospital Association’s 90th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Osage Beach, Mo.<p>
At 9-inches tall, Buddy Bear has a heart-shaped nose, friendly smile and a tiny red heart surrounded by gold rays. He’s more than a stuffed animal. For more than 20 years, Buddy Bear has been a comfort to our pediatric patients at Capital Region Medical Center. <p>
Buddy Bear is handmade by a team of seven hospital volunteers, and 10 volunteers deliver and stock the bears thoughout the units serving our pediatric patients. The bear has evolved throughout the years. Originally, Buddy Bear was created from scrap cloth and had a painted face. In 2001, a standard embroidered face was developed, and “Buddy Bear” was officially named during a naming contest. Children 5 and younger receive a Buddy Bear during their hospital stay while older children receive a Buddy Bear coloring book. Volunteers fund all the costs associated with Buddy Bear and the coloring books.<p>
Buddy Bear offers reassurance to young patients. Buddy Bear gives children comfort during their hospital stays and is “someone” to hold on to during procedures. The coloring book features Buddy Bear’s hospital experience to help older children understand their own hospital stay. Since the program’s inception, volunteers have distributed more than 5,000 Buddy Bears. “Hospitals can be a scary place for children,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA president and CEO. “Having a buddy who can experience it with you can help make the experience easier. For more than 20 years, Buddy Bear has been a comfort to kids during their hospital experience because of the dedicated program volunteers.”<p>
The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 154 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues.