Hospital is a daunting place for any child, and it’s not uncommon that as well as having to cope with their injury or illness, many children who find themselves in a hospital will have to deal with frustration, anxiety, confusion, fear and distress.
Edinburgh-based charity Hearts & Mind’s Clowndoctors programme aims to improve the experience of children in hospitals and hospices by improving encourage communication, interaction and laughter.
The Clowndoctors visit sick, disabled and vulnerable children from 6 months to 18-years-old with a wide range of medical conditions; from hort-stay patients in hospital for a routine procedure to children who are fully dependent or have life-limiting illnesses. The organisation also helps children with physical and learning difficulties, complex special needs or emotional and behavioural difficulties.
As well as entertaining the children with fun and laughter, the Clowndoctors help to encourage communication, by responding to the specific needs of each patient through extensive liaison with healthcare staff, who refer patients directly to them. Where possible, the parents, brothers and sisters of sick children are also involved in sessions so that it becomes a shared family experience.
Speaking about their work, Magdalena Schamberger of Hearts & Minds says: “Lottery funding has helped us to expand our programme, meaning that we can raise a smile with even more children in hospitals and hospices around the country and make what is a very difficult and confusing time for many, a little less scary.”
Clowndoctors is funded by Creative Scotland
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