Product Info

Cute, Cuddly, Comforting, and Concealable.

Cute

Fluffy Friends are adorable!

Cuddly

Fluffy Friends are as soft and cuddly as a regular teddy bear!

Comforting

Fluffy Friends are designed to provide patients with their very own little friend who understands their life experiences in every way. Fluffy Friends serve as emotional support / comfort items for each child as they face terrifying ordeals in a hospital.

The Fluffy Friends program is intended to prevent medical post-traumatic stressd. The numerous invasive procedures that these patients must endure can be extremely traumatizing to these young patients.

Fluffy Friends can also be used to educate young patients about their diagnosis in an age-appropriate manner.

Most importantly, children can bring their Fluffy Friend wherever they go, whenever they need it.

Concealable

At first glance, Fluffy Friends look and feel like ordinary teddy bears.

Children can choose whether or not they reveal what makes their Fluffy Friend so special.

Peers their age have a hard time understanding the fact that chronic illnesses do not have a cure, and over-the-counter medication does not help much, if at all. Patients might want some way of educating their friends. They can show their friends to explain, for instance, why they go to the school nurse every day.

There is also a lot of stigma and ignorance surrounding chronic illness, especially for young children. If patients do not feel comfortable revealing their Fluffy Friends' matching diagnosis, they can keep it hidden inside so that only they know that they are not alone.

Stigma & Patient Autonomy

Fluffy FriendsTM give patients full autonomy over how to handle the stigmas associated with these diagnoses. Designing the augmentation on the interior of the teddy bear is a key feature. Each diagnostic symbol can be kept inside a hidden pocket, concealing what makes them so unique and transforming them from an ordinary teddy bear into a medical tool and vice versa. While visible chronic conditions are hardly concealable, disclosing invisible chronic conditions are quite complicated. The concealability of Fluffy FriendsTM also mirrors the permanence and concealability of patients’ diagnosis as well [7]. Patients often perceive immense risks with disclosure of their diagnosis to their network due to the many stigmas and repeated misunderstandings about chronic illnesses [5]. Every implication and physical aspect of Fluffy FriendsTM actually embodies the founder’s goal of addressing psychosocial Fluffy FriendsTM in the product itself.

Health Communication and Provider Compassion

Fluffy FriendsTM can facilitate crucial age-appropriate conversations. The betterment of health communication between care team and patients, is directly correlated to improving patient satisfaction with their healthcare providers. Effective communication often yields trust. A trusting physician-patient relationship broadly improves health outcomes from several angles. For instance, patients are less inclined to hide information that is critical to their care from their physicians. Without that trust, patients may defy doctors’ advice, and they are certainly less likely to participate in collaborative conversations to better their health. All these behaviors put the patient’s health at further risk and contradict physician’s vow to “do no harm.” The use of Fluffy FriendsTM can show patients a softer side of their physicians, which demonstrates to them that these professionals are part of their support network that is crucial to their overall health and well-being and build stronger relationships. Physicians of chronically ill children become a part of their family, attending birthday parties and graduations while they watch their patients grow up faster than their peers all while braving a smile. Fluffy FriendsTM work to strengthen this relationship and prevent disconnected medical care by extending support after patients’ appointments/hospital stays.


Social & Economic Impact:

For physicians and hospitals, benefits of Fluffy FriendsTM include ethical and fiscal incentives. Utilizing a child-friendly methodology to communicate with patients will improve patient education and promote compassion amongst healthcare providers, improving the reputation of their medical practice. Bedside manner is directly correlated with patient satisfaction, which is a direct determinant of fiscal incentive. Based on customer discovery interviews, the benefit of improved well-being is supported by current patients, physicians, nurses, and hospital leaders/administrators. Additionally, improving healthcare has been a goal of influential organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control, and World Health Organization, for many decades for the betterment of society and the economy because chronic diseases account for 43% of the global burden of disease [10]. Additionally, patients’ mindset also influences the individual recovery prognoses for each medical event [11]. Furthermore, the mentality/outlook of each patient greatly affects their health outcomes and therefore, health complications and comorbidities associated with their underlying condition [12].

Takeaway:

Fluffy FriendsTM improve patients’ quality of life by tackling the extensive breadth of adverse effects from several different dimensions, including comfort, anxiety, isolation, empathy, patient education, health communication, physician compassion, and child development. Fluffy FriendsTM works to make the healthcare system feel safer for children who have experienced or who are predisposed to experiencing traumatic medical episodes.

Economic Impact:

The total addressable market for Fluffy FriendsTM are the 15 – 18 million chronically-ill children in the US, and 25% – 40% of them develop post-traumatic stress symptoms that diminish their quality of life, which costs the healthcare system $750 billion each year [13]. Neurological conditions, for instance, are associated with an even greater risk with reports of clinically significant emotional disturbance in up to 40% of children, [14] hence the decision to launch Fluffy FriendsTM to serve neurological patients. According to the Center for Disease Control, hydrocephalus is the most common reason for pediatric neurosurgery with 88/100,000 pediatric hydrocephalus diagnoses annually. In fact, hydrocephalus-related surgical procedures alone account for $2 billion in healthcare spending nationwide [15]. Cerebral palsy is the most common pediatric neurological disorder with 250/100,000 pediatric cerebral palsy diagnoses annually. The cumulative cost of cerebral palsy is $17,000 per patient per year. Epilepsy is another common pediatric neurological disorder with 48/100,000 pediatric epilepsy diagnoses annually. Up to 50% of hydrocephalus patients who have already been surgically treated also develop epilepsy [16]. The cost of epilepsy is $15,000 per seizure event [16]. Spina bifida with 35/100,000 pediatric diagnoses annually is unique in that it has the potential to have hydrocephalus, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy as comorbidities. The cost of hospital stays for infants born with spina bifida just in the first year of life totals up to $1.35 million. To put all this into perspective, there are only 17.8/100,000 pediatric cancer diagnoses annually.


5. Joachim, G. and S. Acorn, Stigma of visible and invisible chronic conditions. Journal of advanced nursing, 2000. 32(1): p. 243-248.

7. Rao, D., et al., Measuring Stigma across Neurological Conditions: The Development of the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness (SSCI). Quality of life research, 2009. 18(5): p. 585-595.

10. Lebel, S., et al., Health anxiety and illness-related fears across diverse chronic illnesses: A systematic review on conceptualization, measurement, prevalence, course, and correlates. PloS one, 2020. 15(7): p. e0234124-e0234124.

11. Landry, M., et al., Evaluating effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy within multimodal treatment for chronic groin pain after inguinal hernia repair. Surg Endosc, 2020. 34(7): p. 3145-3152.

12. Lamers, S.M., et al., The impact of emotional well-being on long-term recovery and survival in physical illness: a meta-analysis. J Behav Med, 2012. 35(5): p. 538-47.

13. Compas, B.E., et al., Coping with Chronic Illness in Childhood and Adolescence. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2012. 8(1): p. 455-480.

14. Northam, E.A., Psychosocial impact of chronic illness in children. Journal of paediatrics and child health, 1997. 33(5): p. 369-372.

15. Lim, J., et al., The cost of hydrocephalus: a cost-effectiveness model for evaluating surgical techniques. J Neurosurg Pediatr, 2018. 23(1): p. 109-118.

16. Sato, O., et al., Hydrocephalus and epilepsy. Child's Nervous System, 2001. 17(1): p. 76-86.

A glimpse of the Storybook Guide that comes with each Fluffy Friend:

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