15 years



Puppets in the hospital help little patients laugh

It is easier to communicate with the puppet. Children often confide in her what they are afraid to confide in others.

Dates of visits in 2015:

University Hospital in Pilsen:

August 4; 1st September; October 6; 3rd of November; December 1st

University Hospital Brno:

18th of August; September 8; September 22; October 13

University Hospital Olomouc:

July 28; September 16; September 30; 28th October; November 25

Motol University Hospital (Prague):

July 20; 10th of August; August 24; 14th September; 28th of September; October 19

Hradec Králové University Hospital:

September 30;
29th October; November 12; November 26; December 17; December 23rd

Children's pictures hang on the bulletin boards, the walls are full of colors and cheerful paintings,
in the common areas you can trip over stuffed animals or table hockey.
In the children's wards of Czech hospitals, they try to create the most pleasant environment for small patients for treatment. However, the sterile atmosphere of the hospital seeps in here as well. Most of the time, no one plays with the toys, the parents of the children who are here fighting a serious illness or waiting for an operation are serious, there is no laughter coming from the rooms. And it is laughter that the civic association Loutky v hospital is trying to bring to hospitals, which is being supported by the B. Braun Group this year as part of the B. Braun for Life charity project. Actors, musicians and therapists visit children hospitalized in hospitals and clinics throughout the Czech Republic and bring joy to the children through puppets, songs and theater performances.


Through puppets, children get a break from pain

"Every year, almost 180,000 children are hospitalized in the Czech Republic, who endure long-term separation from home and demanding treatment very hard. The psychosocial condition of both child and adult patients is the basis for successful treatment, which is why we are financially supporting the civic association Loutky in the hospital for the third year already," says Martin Kuncek, a member of the B. Braun Group management. We have completed our first visits to Prague Motolo and the faculty hospitals in Olomouc, Pilsen and Brno. Puppeteers play with puppets, sing countless songs and perform theater.

"Working with children in the wards is different. Terribly naughty children are, for example, in the ophthalmology department. There are eras. As they can't see well, they are very lively and we always have a fight there. In oncology, children don't notice so much, we have to treat them more gently there. Sometimes we are happy , if they just move the corner of their mouth, for example," says Antonín Novotný, who played on August 18 at the oncology and transplant department at the Brno Children's Hospital.

Children, as well as their parents, can relax from the pain
and worries caused by demanding treatment through puppets, puppets or a song. The members of the association can react very sensitively to the current condition of the children and allow them to forget, at least for a while, the distressing feelings of being in the hospital. "Drama therapy is a great success with children, and parents and hospital staff also perceive it positively. In addition to their illness, small children suffer mainly from separation from their families, they miss each other, and long-term treatment is very psychologically demanding for them. Thanks to the puppets, they can at least for a while forget about their troubles and pains and laugh from the heart again," explains Marka Míková, co-founder of the civic association Loutky v šóvila.

"It's definitely an upheaval for the kids. We go back and forth all day and neither I nor Vašíček perceive it well. Puppets are amazing and everyone likes music, right?” says Veronika Ramsová, turning to her one-year-old son, with whom she is waiting for an operation in the orthopedic department at Prague's Motolská Hospital.


A puppet is easier to confide in

When preparing a suitable performance, puppeteers cooperate not only with doctors and hospital staff, but also with children's parents, pedagogues and art therapists. Thanks to this, they can offer a fun and interesting program for patients of all ages. With the help of the puppet, they often manage to establish such a strong relationship with the patient that the children confide in them concerns that they have so far refused to talk about with doctors.

"Drama therapy is a great success with children and it is also perceived positively by parents and hospital staff," explains Marka Míková. Her words are also confirmed by nurses from the Brno University Hospital. "It helps, the children are happy. In normal mode, they are isolated in a room, and when someone comes to cheer them up, they are grateful for it," agree the nurses from the transplant department. "I like the funny ones the most, especially the naughty ones," concludes eight-year-old Matouš Drahoš, who has been hospitalized for oncology since April this year.

"Any child, whether sick or healthy, has more confidence in a puppet than in a stranger. With the puppet, the child relaxes and starts to communicate, confides in it," describes Kateřina Tschornová, who played and sang to the children during the first sponsored visit to the Motol Hospital. Puppets in the hospital also help parents. "When parents see their child laughing sincerely again after even months of demanding treatment, it is a great happiness for them," he adds.


Children and adults sing

Time has stopped at the geriatric department of the Olomouc University Hospital. The puppets seem like a revelation here. "Seniors like to sing with us. We sing them our songs, and they sing theirs to us," describes the musician Jaromír František Palme, known as Fumas, who, among other things, also worked in the band Čechomor. Together with Lenka Volfová at the geriatric center, they go to the patients' rooms and sing. Their inhabitants sing with them and tell each other stories from their youth. "Thank you for remembering us," calls the elderly lady.

Puppets don't just play for children. They also visit other departments, stopping wherever they can make you happy. However, the work is more complicated with older children. "You often see that moodiness in 14-year-old kids who have laptops, watch movies. But then someone from the room says they want to play. And eventually others join in and want more and more songs and suddenly a great atmosphere starts. Something changes in that room, something happens, and if you compare the mood before and after, it's something beautiful," describes Hana Grančičová, who is about to play with older children at the Pilsen University Hospital. It is up to the specific actor how he approaches the patients. Paths to the elderly are sought differently.

"The age gap is bridged by music. It amuses young children, adults and seniors. We break the ice through songs," explains Lenka Volfová. "When it comes down to it, we'll play punk," adds Fumas with a laugh. "Puppets also work for older children, but you have to be dignified," notes Kateřina Tschornová and gives an example: "She was already a big lady, fifteen or sixteen years old, I think she fell off a cliff. She was so broken, so crippled that she couldn't move for months. She had a stuffed lion with her and I tried it. I talked to her with the puppet and she took the lion and started talking to me through the lion. It was the first time in months that she had responded. At that moment I had to do something to hold back the tears.'

Thanks to the support of the B. Braun Group, the Loutka in the hospital psychotherapy project will be held regularly in Brno, Hradec Králové, Olomouc, Pilsen and Prague.


About the Puppets in the Hospital project

At first, the small group visited several children's departments of the Prague University Hospital in Motol. In 11 years, Loutek's operation in the hospital expanded to a respectable 6 hospitals in Prague and another 19 hospitals and medical institutions throughout the country. During the year, they perform more than 1,000 theater performances and sing thousands of songs in 280 visits. The Loutek team grew from the original 4 members to 13, and in 2010 a sister association, Dolls in the Hospital, was also established in Slovakia. In the first decade, more than ten small productions were created, prepared directly for hospitalized children. Live music is an integral part of visits to children's patients. Puppets in the hospital also organize theater performances in Prague's Minor Theater. Young viewers can always watch them from ten o'clock.

Performance dates are:
12.9. White whale
3.10. About a brave tiger
31.10. premiere of Mice Belong in Heaven
14.11. Sloths
12.12. A gift or try to take the road not on the road

More at www.loutkyvnemocnici.cz .

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