When you are sick and in hospital then it is no fun. Now imagine what it’s like for children. It can be a lonely, frightening and intimidating experience so having someone brighten up your day is crucial.
This is where Giggle Doctors can help ease the pain, the boredom and the fear.
The brainchild of two Swiss brothers, André and Jan Poulie, Giggle Doctors inject laughter into the lives of sick children.
At the Theodora Children’s Charity we believe that all children deserve laughter. The mission at the heart of our work is to contribute to the wellbeing of children in hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres by providing visits from professional performers who have been trained to work in a medical environment. Our Giggle Doctors visit children in hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres across England. By combining music, play, magic and storytelling these professional performers bring magical moments to brave children in challenging times. We believe that every sick or disabled child should get the giggles that only a Giggle Doctor can bring.
The concept is simple – Giggle Doctors can focus on children and make them feel better psychologically – the real doctors and nurses focus on the illness.
The joy of this amazing project is that Giggle Doctors are there to play with the aim of lifting moods, seeing faces light up and making children laugh.
Giggle Doctors normally work in pairs and sometimes on a one-to-one basis. Each visit is tailored according to how children are feeling. They can be particularly helpful as a distraction when a child has to have an injection or some stitches removed.
Using humour is a tried and tested way of coping with and reducing stress so Giggle Doctors provide a valuable service helping sick children to feel brighter and more in control. A nurse commented on how effective Giggle Doctors are saying,
A young child had suffered a brain tumour but when the Giggle Doctors came and played music, his mum expressed it was the first time she had seen him clap in six months. This brought a tear to many people’s eyes that day!
But you don’t just sign up to be a Giggle Doctor, hit the wards and start clowning around – this is a serious business involving a lot of training including learning about child development, how hospitals are run, the impact of illness and infection control. Sometimes children don’t want a visit at all as their medication can influence how they feel.
The Giggle Doctors are having tremendous impact as the following graphic shows:
Dr Hip Hap and Dr Flowerpot were recently featured on the Alan Clifford show on BBC Radio Nottingham to talk about what it is like to be a Giggle Doctor.
They are an amazing charity to support. Find out more:
It costs just £10 to fund a #GiggleDoctor visit for one child. Every penny raised will help us to bring joy and laughter to children in hospital. To support us please text "HAHA20 £3" to 70070. https://t.co/mu4peKvqID pic.twitter.com/eyl8TNZzV0
— Theodora C C (@GiveaGiggle) May 15, 2018
If you remember the film Patch Adams then you will know that humour can make all the difference – it is an escape and respite.
See also the use of puppets in hospital and Persephone Sextou’s book Theatre For Children In Hospital.