The Laughter Specialists visit hospitals and hospices and work in a wide range of wards with both long and short stay patients. Our practitioners have specialist training to work with young people who have physical and/or learning disabilities, who have life-limiting conditions and/or who present behavioural challenges.
They have many years of experience bringing a unique service to support the mental well being of children being treated in hospital and those in respite or palliative care in hospices. Whether it is a highly vulnerable child with a life-threatening condition, a longer-term stay or a child waiting in a clinic / A & E, or a child during their final weeks or hours of their lives, our highly experienced team provide unique bespoke interactions especially for that child. Their vast experience ensures that they know when and how to approach the children and bring much needed relief to them and their families. We often have feedback from medical & care staff saying that our visits to the wards and clinics are also an effective stress relief for them too. They are grateful for the positive impact our work has on alleviating anxieties, fears, loneliness isolation and other struggles that are often experienced by patients and their families.
Over the years we have adapted our visits and arrive at the wards and clinics in bright, fun and colourful outfits making the children laugh but not feel threatened. Our experience enables us to empathise with each individual’s situation. This means we can appreciate when a child is too ill for their visit or on the other hand just maybe a bit apprehensive in a strange environment, but would benefit from some interaction. We adapt our approach working on a one to one basis, as well as working effectively with larger groups. It is this flexible way of working that enables children and their families to smile and laugh in stressful and unfamiliar situations. Parents are able to see their child enjoying some activities that are outside the medical procedures and delivered by those out of a medical uniform. The play specialists and nurses will often comment on the benefit of a child being distracted whilst they wait for their medical specialists, which has meant that the child is calm and co-operative when they get to see the doctor or have a medical procedure carried out. The Laughter Specialists provide something that is so much more than just a few hours of entertainment. It is more an opportunity for intensive interaction where close communication, magic and music engage the children on many different levels. It is an invaluable support to children families and staff.
Research has proven that fun and laughter has a positive effect on physiology, mental health and overall well being and we want to continue to ‘spread the laughter bug’ to provide these benefits and giving children the chance to have this kind of experience when they most need it.
We work in close collaboration with staff on wards, and our referral process provides us with Information regarding each young person’s condition, their likes and dislikes, which help us to deliver the best possible interventions. This information allows us to tailor our interactions appropriately. Each intervention is ‘made to measure’ and improvised. Empathy, authenticity and playfulness sits at the heart of our approach and while interventions might involve music, singing, magic, puppetry, slapstick or imaginative play, we always put the child’s needs first. When infection control requires it, we can visit children through the window!
We regularly visit various hospitals in the region, but are always keen to expand our service and provide the entertainment and respite fun to those at other venues across East Anglia. If you are interested in our service and would like us to visit your hospital or hospice please contact us or complete the REQUEST A VISIT FORM and we will get in touch.