For children and youth, there is nothing funny about being in a hospital or long-term care facility. The experience will likely include inactivity, loss of freedom, isolation from family and friends, and physically painful procedures. For some, the prospect of permanent disability or a shortened life is also a reality. While little can be done to change the focus of a hospital experience, most medical facilities do their best to ensure that the child, their families, and hospital staff are well supported.
Hospital or Therapeutic Clowning is one way in which joy, laughter and a modest amount of control can be introduced into a medical environment. Occasional visits by a professional, specially trained clown has been shown to improve the emotional condition of hospitalized children, relieve tension amongst family members and improve the work environment for nurses, doctors and other health-care professionals. Working in tandem with departments at over 35 hospitals and health care facilities across Canada, clowns have proven themselves to be a valuable, if somewhat intangible, part of healing and quality of life.
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