Plushies comfort pediatric patients staying at The Memorial Hospital at Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Plushies comfort pediatric patients staying at The Memorial Hospital at Craig

CRAIG — With efforts underway to raise $1 million to help build a new medical office building, it would be easy to overlook some of the other meaningful ways Memorial Regional Health Foundation makes a difference.

Last year, the MRH Foundation Board of Trustees approved approximately $1,000 to replenish a supply of plush stuffed toys nurses and doctors provide to children who are being treated in the hospital.

"It helps make their stay at the hospital a little more comfortable," said MRH Foundation Director Eva Peroulis.

The toys are replenished about every six months. The latest shipment arrived at the end of February and features a bulldog, kitten and moose, all dressed in red T-shirts bearing the MRH logo.

Hospital In-patient Supervisor Tina Livingston explained that being admitted to the hospital is sometimes a frightening event for a child and that the toys help.

"They love them," she said.

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Sometimes, providers use the toys to explain a procedure.

"They bandage an arm," Livingston said.

Toys can also help doctors and nurses who feel badly about placing an IV or giving a shot they know will hurt.

"It helps us to smile and give encouragement, as much as it helps the child," Livingston said.

Children are able to choose one of the toys to cuddle during their hospital stay and take home once they are released.

The toys are one of the efforts supported by the MRH foundation to help promote children's health and wellness programs. Other programs supported by the MRH Foundation include annual bike helmet drives and the Missoula Children's Theatre production, sponsored in conjunction with the Moffat County School District, Peroulis said.

The MRH foundation has also secured grants to provide funding for improvements to pediatric services, such as renovating an emergency department room for kids and supplying entertainment carts, with TV, DVDs, Xbox games, educational tablets and music.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.