Using laughter as the best medicine
The Clown Doctors
Health / medical professionals All health care professionals who were connected to the programme were invited by CAHHM to attend a two-hour open group discussion, with opportunities for individual, confidential responses to questions. One of the health professionals who was unable to attend the session submitted her answers via a confidential questionnaire. The following comments are a summary of the discussion held and more detailed information is available upon request. Expectations of the scheme Expectations were strong at the commencement of the programme. Health care staff believed that the Clown Doctors would work well with children, parents and staff and that it would be fun and entertaining. They also believed it would motivate, stimulate and empower children, leaving the patient with a good and happy experience of hospital. Ways in which expectations are being satisfied The Clown Doctors are working well with staff, patients and parents bringing laughter and fun to the wards and departments. The Clown Doctors successfully get the children to open up and have fun whilst enabling patients to take control of situations. The Clown Doctors have shown that they can make a huge difference.
“I feel my expectations are being met, as I have long-term patients on my ward and they love the Clown Doctors, they meet their needs and are sensitive to their needs accordingly.” (Play Specialist)
Ways in which expectations are not being satisfied A few parents, patients and staff are a bit anxious about the Clown Doctors, but are now getting to know what they are all about. There is also scope for the Clown Doctors to work with patients with more complex problems. Strengths of the scheme It provides laughter and therapeutic play to seriously ill children and young people and improves patients’ experience of hospitals. The health care staff are learning different things about the children and it helps them see how others outside the medical field can help in many ways. The Clown Doctors are sensitive to each individual patient’s needs – some children are too ill to participate, but the Clown Doctors will peer through their cubicle to make sure they are not left out.
“Many of the younger children love the “magic tricks”, it’s like having a tonic when the trick works!” (Play Specialist)