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December 2004

The LaughterBoss

By Dr Peter Spitzer (aka Dr Fruit-Loop) MB.BS., FACRRM, Churchill Fellow
Chairman, Medical Director
Humour Foundation.

A new model for aged care services
"What if one person from each aged care facility, as well as doing their regular work, took on additional training and became the LaughterBoss of that facility?"

I recently presented this idea for the first time at the National Conference on Depression and Dementia in Aged Care in Sydney, 2003 and the result has been an amazing and exciting response!

Laughter in the aged care facility meets quality of life and psychosocial 'coal face' issues and must work in co-operative partnership with other modalities.

The LaughterBoss knows so well the people (residents, staff and families), the environment, the ethos and culture of their facility. The LaughterBoss would create bonds, be nourishing, help with improved coping, be supportive, give cognitive control, provide positive diversion and increase the 'smileage factor'.

"It is the job of the LaughterBoss, via open-heart surgery, to touch the soul and give it room to smile and laugh."

The LaughterBoss of course is not restricted to the aged-care setting and is a creative in-house opportunity to positively change the work place environment. It would apply with benefit to all health care settings.

Following on from the success of the Aged Care Conference, the Humour Foundation has started running LaughterBoss training workshops. Graduates receive a LaughterBoss Cerificate that can be proudly and prominently displayed. It says that as The LaughtBoss, they are now fully certifiable.

LaughterBoss clown doctor training group in Melbourne Australia

The Humour Foundation

The Humour Foundation is an Australian charity dedicated to promoting the health benefits of humour. Founded in 1997 by Dr Peter Spitzer, a GP, and Jean-Paul Bell, a performer, The Foundation's core project is the Clown Doctor Programme. Clown Doctors visit paediatric and general hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. They have helped people find their smiles again in East Timor and Afghanistan. A new program was recently opened at Hobart General Hospital and work is in progress for clown doctor programs in New Zealand and Ireland for 2005.

A LaughterWorks Project

LaughterWorks is the training arm of The Humour Foundation charity. It provides speakers and workshop leaders on humour and health, and has been running LaughterBoss training programs for nurses, occupational therapists, diversional therapists, recreationalists and other service providers during 2004. The Foundation is also busy looking for research possibilities on this topic and would be pleased to hear from people with an interest in this area. For more information contact:

Dr Peter Spitzer (aka Dr Fruit-Loop) MB.BS., FACRRM, Churchill Fellow
Chairman, Medical Director
Humour Foundation
PO Box 1893
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: +61 2 48 613148

Article on clown doctor program

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