Bringing Clown Doctors to the Sunshine Coast
Delivering gags and giggles to sick children - a little humour goes a long way to treating children on the Sunshine Coast.
In November 2016, the Wishlist-funded Clown Doctors service commenced in the Children's Ward at Nambour General Hospital.
The inspiring program, delivered by The Humour Foundation, treats young patients with a unique blend of 'laughter medicine' featuring jokes, silly dances and goofy songs.
With the help of the generous Sunshine Coast community, Wishlist has committed to funding two years of the service to bring laughter, smiles and bouts of silliness to children spending time at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Through the 2016 Wishlist Spring Carnival, a portion of funds from the 2016 House the Coast Built, and the Woolworths Wall Token appeal, Wishlist was able to appoint two Clown Doctors from The Humour Foundation to brighten the days of youngsters for one day a week initially before ramping up to two days a week in 2017. The service is a first for the region.
“The benefits of laughter are real – it relaxes the muscles, helps the immune system, reduces pain, helps promote a positive outlook and has a good effect on the cardiovascular and respiratory system," - Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe.
Local Program Coordinator Cristy Welsh said Clown Doctors helped to divert children's attention during painful procedures, calm them in emergency and encourage them in physiotherapy.
“Every Clown Doctor is selected for their high level of performing skills and their personal qualities such as being sensitive and caring," Ms Welsh said.
"They undergo months of intense training so they can help children enter the world of play and imagination despite many of them often being in hospital for long periods of time. You can never underestimate the power of a good laugh.”
By parodying the hospital routine, Clown Doctors address the psychosocial needs of a child in hospital in a unique way.
Children can forget their illness for a moment and return to a world of fantasy and play. It's hard to keep a sad face when the Clown Doctors come in!