Lions hear details of ‘comfort bears’ program

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Thom Watson, from the Marionville Lions Club, explains the “comfort bears” program he helped create for the Aurora hospital. Contributed photo

Outreach helps children visiting hospital emergency room

Monett Lions recently welcomed some fellow animals to their meeting when Lion Thom Watson of the Marionville Lions Club brought an array of stuffed creatures with him as he presented an informative program on "Comfort Bears."

Watson has been instrumental in the creation of a special outreach Lions program at Mercy Hospital Aurora. In order to provide security and comfort to frightened, apprehensive children visiting the emergency room, personnel offer those young patients stuffed animals which act much like security blankets.

Sometimes nurses simulate procedures on the bears as a way to make needed medical procedures less threatening. In other instances, the stuffed animals are interviewed as a method by Child Protective Services to learn about a child's injuries.

At the end of the emergency room visit, young patients are given their stuffed animal to take with them for continued security. Officials say that the ER sees about 10 to 20 of these children each month.

The Mercy Aurora Comfort Bear program is a shared responsibility of the Marionville Lions Club, the Aurora Lions Club, and the Aurora Rotary Club.