Braces for teddy bears at Nottingham Children’s Hospital

Bringing comfort to our younger patients who are treated for spinal conditions such as scoliosis

Braces for teddy bears | Nottingham Children's Hospital

Scoliosis is a condition that causes one or more curves in your spine. It can be spotted from a visible curve, but also from a lean to one side, uneven shoulders or asymmetry of your ribs.

It can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15. To help stop the curve in the spine from progressing once it has been diagnosed, children often have to wear spinal braces for up to 23 hours a day – it’s a big commitment for the whole family and treatment can last for several years. Compliance with the brace is a major factor in the treatment’s success and there is a possibility of children needing surgical intervention if orthotic treatment is not effective.

Here in Nottingham, a heart-warming new project has set out to support our younger patients who are undergoing treatment like this, and it involves someone much closer to home – our teddies!

Donate today and make a difference
Braces for teddy bears | Nottingham Children's Hospital

Thanks to donations from our supporters like you, Nottingham Hospitals Charity has granted £9,050 to the Orthotics department at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust to buy 60 miniature spinal braces for soft toys or dolls, which would match the braces worn by patients being treated here in Nottingham.

These small braces, which are custom-made with patterns that match the children's own spinal braces, can fit around a patient’s own teddy. They will last for the duration of the treatment to comfort and reassure a child when they’re adjusting to wearing their brace, which can be challenging.

When a brace is fitted for a child, the patient can also bring in their cherished stuffed animals from home, making the brace-fitting process feel more comfortable and familiar.

What is Orthotics?

The specialist NHS staff who work in the Orthotics team here in Nottingham assess, measure, and fit external devices to aid patients' rehabilitation, improve their comfort, gait, and overall quality of life. From babies with clubfoot to elderly individuals at risk of falls, the team supports a diverse range of patients across various healthcare settings.

Braces for teddy bears | Nottingham Children's Hospital B

Empowering children in hospital

The impact of this project is especially profound for children who are receiving their first brace. The matching soft toy spinal brace becomes a reassuring companion, helping them adapt to their own braces with less anxiety. This small but impactful project helps to alleviate fears, create a friendly environment, and let these children know that they are not alone in their scoliosis journey.

Cameron is one of our very first patients at Nottingham Hospitals Charity who received one of our teddy bear braces, and his Mum explains how the brace has made a difference:

“The brace for bear has helped educate Cameron’s friends and family and understand why he needs to wear the brace.”

Donate today
Braces for teddy bears | Nottingham Children's Hospital C

Make a difference for patients like Cameron

Thanks to generous donations from supporters like you, children like Cameron can feel more understood, reassured and supported while they are going through their treatment for spinal conditions like scoliosis.

Projects like these are not currently funded by core NHS budgets, but thanks to incredible support from our donors like you – small changes like this can create a much more positive and engaging experience for our youngest patients while they are being cared for in hospital.

Amanda Mason, senior orthotic assistant at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said:

“I am really enjoying being involved in the Brace for Bears project, and it helps to build a rapport with the children from the beginning of their treatment to the end. The process of receiving a spinal brace can be a big adjustment for all members of the family and it can be quite daunting for them initially. I have found that the Brace for Bears project has really helped to put the children at ease and make the experience more positive. The children are often really excited to show their friends and family the matching braces and this encourages them to wear them for the recommended time.”
Donate today

The project, funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, is a brilliant showcase of the dedication and compassion of NUH staff providing exceptional care and support. After all, even the smallest gestures can have a profound impact on a child's life and treatment journey.

You too can make a difference in patient care at Nottingham’s NHS hospitals by donating to fund similar projects. Together, we can ensure that every child receives the care they deserve, surrounded by comfort, fun, and a sense of support.

Donate today and make a difference for patients like Cameron.

Donate today

Keep up to date

Sign up to our newsletter to keep in the loop about fundraisers, stories, news and more from Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

Subscribe to our email