Clowns, for some reason, seem to have gone out of style.
Sure there were always a few kids creeped out by a clown, but I think, for the most part, clowns used to have a good reputation. That is no longer the case. Everyone seems creeped out by clowns now.
Well, not everyone. I like clowns, perhaps because I used to be one, as shown in the photo above from about 25 years ago.
So imagine my excitement when I came across this story from the Christmas issue of the BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal).
Researchers evaluated evidence from randomized controlled trials and non-randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of hospital clowns for a range of symptom clusters in children and adolescents admitted to hospital with acute and chronic conditions.
Studies showed that children and adolescents who were in the presence of hospital clowns, either with or without a parent present, reported significantly less anxiety during a range of medical procedures, as well as improved psychological adjustment. Three studies that evaluated chronic conditions showed favorable results for the intervention of hospital clowns with a significant reduction in stress, fatigue, pain, and distress.
These findings suggest that the presence of hospital clowns during medical procedures, induction of anesthesia in the preoperative room, and as part of routine care for chronic conditions might be a beneficial strategy to manage some symptom clusters. Furthermore, hospital clowns might help improve psychological wellbeing in admitted children and adolescents with acute and chronic disorders, compared with those who received only standard care.
So take that, all of you who are creeped out by clowns.
I think I may have found the perfect volunteer opportunity for when I retire …