Therapy on four wheels

Little Oliver and his father with one of the electric cars.
Little Oliver and his father with one of the electric cars. / A. Paz
  • The Costa del Sol hospital in Marbella has been given two electric toy cars for the Paediatric ward

  • The aim is to reduce the children's fear and anxiety during the time they have to spend in the hospital

A stay in hospital is never easy for patients or their families and especially so in the case of children, but a new means of transport at the Costa del Sol hospital aims to reduce fear and anxiety. Two toy electric cars are now at the disposition of the youngest patients as a new source of fun with their relatives.

This innovation was the idea of Carlos Coronil, who for the past five years has been organising the charity Golfriends Puma Volkswagen children's golf tournament, and it is thanks to him that enough money has been raised to buy the mini electric cars.

The Paediatric ward at the hospital in Marbella was presented with the vehicles this week. The head of nursing in that department, Rosana Medina, said the toy cars will not only help to reduce the children's fear but will also minimise the impact of their stay in hospital.

"Any activity or anything we do to help the children enjoy themselves and settle into their environment here is very positive," she said.

Carlos Coronil has been holding the charity tournament every month for the past five years, not only to help the hospital but also to benefit associations and NGOs such as the Fundación Luis Olivares, AVOI, Fundación Sergio García and the campaign for Sarah Almagro.

He also tries to make sure that "the boys and girls who participate in the [golf] tour feel responsible and proud that they are collaborating and making a contribution", he explained.

He has also been assisted by the Safamotor group, which has been sponsoring the tournament for the past four years.

"We are doing this together, and they also decided to put their own money on the table to buy two more cars for another hospital in the region," said Coronil.

The head of Safamotor, Jose Luis Castillo, explained why the company is taking part: "Our participation in the [golf] tour started off with a commercial objective, but now it has become a much more charitable and altruistic aim, and we really want people to be aware of these causes," he said.

However, the main reason for having these cars, apart from enabling the young patients to have some fun with them, is for the children to ride in them when they are going to have operations and tests.

"We want the little ones to drive to the operating theatres and for tests to make it more enjoyable and less scary for them," said Rosana Medina. That will take a while to happen though because, as she explains, the Costa del Sol needs to see how other hospitals in Spain are organising it first.

For years now this hospital in Marbella has provided different activities for the children on the Paediatric ward, to make their stay as pleasant as possible. In the entertainment room on the same floor the patients can read, listen to stories and use educational programmes on the computers.

"We do different activities all through the year, in which staff participate. We encourage the children to play with the things that distract them most at the start of their stay, because that is normally the most difficult time for them," explained the director of the Paediatric Department, Javier Álvarez.