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.

Fluffy Friends are intended to prevent medical Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 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 do 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 everyday.

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 also respect patients’ decisions about how to handle the stigmas associated with these diagnoses. Designing the augmentation on the interior of the stuffed animal is a key design feature. Each diagnostic symbol can be kept inside a hidden pocket, concealing what makes them so unique and transforming them from an ordinary stuffed animal into a medical tool and vice versa. The convertible aspect of Fluffy FriendsTM is not seen in similar medically therapeutic products. Concealing the personalized diagnostic symbol, therefore hiding what differentiates Fluffy FriendsTM from ordinary stuffed animals, is crucial for addressing the challenges patients experience. While visible chronic conditions are hardly concealable, disclosing invisible chronic conditions are quite complicated. The concealability of Fluffy FriendsTM also mirrors the concealability of patients’ diagnosis as well [5]. Patients often perceive immense risks with disclosure of their diagnosis to their social network due to the many stigmas surrounding chronic illnesses [6]. Every implication and physical aspect of Fluffy FriendsTM actually embodies the founder’s goal of addressing psychosocial Fluffy FriendsTM in the product itself.

Economic Impact:

The total addressable market for FluffyFriendsTM 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 [6]. Neurological conditions “are associated with an even greater risk with reports of clinically significant [emotional] disturbance in up to 40% of children,” [7] hence the decision to launch Phase 1 of FluffyFriendsTM to serve hydrocephalus patients, the most common reason for neurosurgery in children. In fact, hydrocephalus-related surgical procedures account for $2 billion in healthcare spending nationwide [8]. Subsequent phases of FluffyFriendsTM have comparable, if not more significant, economic improvement opportunities. The long term effects and outcomes for patients who have developed PTSD as a result of their medical diagnoses can seriously hinder their ability to being productive members of society. Overall, improvements to patient education alone, would save the healthcare system roughly $3,000 for each patient per quality adjusted life year (QALY) [9]. Additionally, patients’ mindset also influences the individual recovery prognoses for each medical crisis. Furthermore, the mentality/outlook of each patient greatly affects their health outcomes and therefore, health complications and comorbidities associated with their underlying condition.


5. 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.

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

7. Kassam-Adams, N. and L. Butler, What Do Clinicians Caring for Children Need to Know about Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress and the Ethics of Trauma-Informed Approaches? AMA J Ethics, 2017. 19(8): p. 793-801.

8. Koukourikos, K., et al., The Importance of Play During Hospitalization of Children. Materia socio-medica, 2015. 27(6): p. 438-441.

9. Stenberg, U., et al., Health economic evaluations of patient education interventions a scoping review of the literature. Patient education and counseling, 2018. 101(6): p. 1006-1035.

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

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