Laughter is the best medicine

Humour and laughter can help create a positive and hopeful attitude. No matter what the language, laughter plays an important role for kids in a hospital environment. Whether it’s putting a smile on a child’s face after a tough procedure or just being there to provide some laughter for a family during a difficult time, therapeutic clowning can be serious business.

Therapeutic clown expert and President of the Theodora Foundation in Switzerland, André Poulie, made a special visit to Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre to meet with Children’s therapeutic clown, Ollie Pale. The two shared tricks of the trade and lots of laughs with many patients and their families at Children’s on Tuesday, February 18.

Children’s Hospital is one of the four paediatric hospitals in Canada to have its own “in-house” therapeutic clown program.

There is something magical about Ollie, the therapeutic clown who serves a number of different areas at Children’s Hospital. For 10 years, Ollie has been helping kids forget they are in hospital with his magic tricks, toys, gags and mischievous behaviour. He helps normalize kids’ lives during their hospital visit.

Therapeutic clowning helps improve children, youth and their families’ hospital experience. The program at Children’s creates a safe place that supports emotional expression, empowerment, and social interaction.

The therapeutic clown program is entirely funded through donations from the community to Children’s Health Foundation.

"Andie loves Ollie's balloon drawings that he does on medical gloves. She even used to sleep with them when she was younger." Andie's mom, Jenn