One in 20 children are treated in hospital in England each year, which can be very frightening. Theodora Children’s Charity addresses this by sending professional performers into hospitals. The performers, called Giggle Doctors, combine music, play, magic and storytelling, to improve the well-being of children by providing magical moments of fun at often very challenging times. The Giggle Doctor visits help reduce levels of anxiety and create increased opportunities for play in the healthcare environment. The charity’s training is extremely robust, meaning that each Giggle Doctor is well-prepared for the circumstances they encounter.
During each four-hour visit the Giggle Doctors see between 22 and 26 children, as well as parents and siblings who are with the child at their bedside. Each interaction is tailored to the child and the visits are designed to provide whatever each one needs at the time, whether it’s a joke, a song or simply companionship.
Last year the Giggle Doctors visited 33,000 children. Feedback shows that 100 per cent of hospital staff rated them as excellent or very good, while over 80 per cent of parents/guardians felt they improved the child’s experience of being in hospital.
The charity has learnt that it is about so much more than making children laugh. Hospital can be very boring as well as scary and intimidating. Giving children space to use their imagination makes for the most incredible moments and memories, not just for the child, but often the whole family.
CC reg no: 1094532