Hospital clowning: a paediatrician’s view.

Authors: van Venrooij LT, Barnhoorn PC


Eur J Pediatr. 2017 Feb;176(2):191-197

This study investigates the current position of hospital clowns from the perspective of paediatricians and paediatric residents. A total of 14 attending paediatricians and paediatric residents participated in two focus group sessions. Data were analysed using Atlas.ti 5.0. In general, physicians reported positive experiences regarding the interaction between hospital clowns and paediatric patients on the ward. Physicians were more interested in research on children's perception of hospital clowns than in research on the clinical efficacy of hospital clowning. No direct collaboration between physicians and hospital clowns was reported. However, physicians proposed conditions which may streamline their encounters with hospital clowns such as clear communication prior to hospital clown visits, and the condition that visits do not impede medical interventions.
CONCLUSION: Overall, paediatricians and paediatric residents view the positive impact on paediatric patients as the most important aspect of hospital clown visits, rather than the clinical efficacy of hospital clowning. In light of the growing number of hospital clowns worldwide, this article provides recommendations for arranging their encounters with paediatricians and paediatric residents to maintain optimal health care. What is known: • Previous studies show a clinically significant pain- and anxiety-reducing effect of hospital clowning in paediatric patients admitted to hospitals or undergoing (invasive) medical procedures. • In general, paediatricians have positive ideas about hospital clowns, aside from personal prejudices. What is new: • This novel study gives deeper insight into day-to-day interaction between paediatricians and hospital clowns on the ward. • This study provides recommendations for clinical practice to arrange encounters between physicians and hospital clowns during hospital clown visits.



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