Dream Doctors: A Medical Clown Program

Clown Care, also known as hospital clowning, is a program in healthcare facilities involving visits from specially trained clowns. This is a supportive profession in Israel that assists in reducing stress, anxiety and fear patients experience and aids in healing. The Medical Clowns are trained in psychology, social work, nursing and theater and work with medical professionals in several areas of medical needs and specific populations, including: Children, aging adults, sexual abuse and PTSD victims, and those with chronic illnesses, among others. They approach each patient individually and work hand in hand with medical staff on each patient. The Israeli medical clowns, through their integrative and individual approach, help people heal. The Medical Clown is active in various departments in Emek Medical Center: pediatric surgery, dialysis, day hospital, nuclear medicine, pediatric gastroenterology, and general pediatrics. A Medical Clown meets tens to hundreds of people per year, from all ages. They also accompany many children to surgeries, nuclear medicine isotope procedures and pediatric gastric procedures every month. In addition to an earlier research study on medical clowns replacing sedation, there are two current studies involving clowns making a difference in less family violence directed at staff. In the past few years our support allowed the hospital to employ a medical clown.