Palliative care: Smile Therapy at a ward from which few return home…



For some time now, Dr. Klaun brings smiles and laughter even to places where there is actually little to smile about: palliative care wards, where patients know that there is little chance they´ll ever return home again.

Author: Martina Pupcsikova

For many people, in general, the topic of palliative care and serious illness is taboo – they don’t like to think about this stage of life, even though it is part of life. The teams of Dr. Clown and Dr. Pet are not afraid to visit here – on the contrary, we look forward to it! Nurses and other staff take care of these patients very selflessly; their work is hard physically and mentally. We know this and want to help them. The patients here are looking forward to any moment of distraction and joy – when they can become the central figure and we can make their long day in bed more colorful. For our Dr. Pet they wait a week or two for their furry friend to come back to them. We are important to them and they are extremely important to us. Their smile or even laughter is like gushing gold. Even though some are weak and frail, yet they give us a hand or lean down to caress Dr. Dog! They actually reward us – that we can experience this with them!

Palliative care is an emotional place. It is a place that brings us back down to earth, to what is really important. Visiting family, friends, acquaintances and being with them is another gift for these patients. And for our mere presence, for being with them, playing the ukulele, singing their favorite songs, reminiscing, joking, demonstrating how Dr. Pet can grab a spoon and pick up keys – for this we are being richly rewarded.

Meeting “good old friends” in palliative care is a gift for our team, as their health can change quite quickly quickly. It´s fulfilling for us to see that they are looking forward to and have been waiting for us, that they smile the moment we enter the room.

Dr. Klaun has been visiting homes for the elderly for several years now. We started visiting the palliative care unit in Kutná Hora this spring. The acting station nurse, Mrs. Lochmanová, was skeptical at first and rather afraid of clowns in such a solemn place. She wanted us to send her pictures of similar visits in advance and then very cautiously requested the first test visitAfter the visit, she was so excited that she even printed out photos to put them up on the bulletin board. Everything turned out great.

“Within a week, we also arranged a visit with Dr. Pet, after appropriate approvals, and again the first test visit. It ended with satisfaction again. Patients were in awe of their furry friend. Some people get out of bed for a caress, some would prefer to take it on the duvet,” explains Martina Vaculíková. “And sometimes, when I watch our clowns interacting with the elderly, I have to go out into the corridor to hide the tears of emotion.”

Does it also make sense to you? If it does, please help us to regularly keep sending our Dr. Klaun and Dr. Pet teams to the palliative care units and homes for the elderly. Click here to help us help! Follow Dr. Klaun and check out our website, and you will see the impact of your gift with your own eyes.