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FAQs

How do I become a Clown Doctor?alt

Being a Clown Doctor is not like any other gig...even if you have performed in hospitals before. It is, however, immensely rewarding. A high level of performing skills is a prerequisite. Our Clown Doctors specialise in different areas - magic, puppetry, music, storytelling, mime etc...and come from differing performing backgrounds.

A good Clown Doctor Unit is one where the performers' skills complement each other. Even if you are a highly skilled performer, this does not necessarily mean you will be a good Clown Doctor. Excellent improvisation skills and exceptional people skills are also needed.

Clown Doctors need to be able to relate not only to children, but also to adult patients, families and staff. The personal qualities we look for include: empathy, sensitivity, warmth, caring, good judgment, responsibility, commitment, and being a team player...and of course, being funny! Clown Doctors work from the heart...costume and make-up alone do not make you a Clown.

Performers need an ABN, public liability insurance and a 'Working with Children' check. Income protection insurance is advisable. Unfortunately, due to the high level of skill involved, we are unable to accept volunteer Clown Doctors.

Performers must undergo a thorough audition and selection process. The Foundation provides ongoing support and professional development to ensure that Clown Doctors are well-nourished professionally and are able to perform to the best of their ability. All programs are supported by a rigorous quality assurance process, including regular reviews with host hospitals to ensure the service is meeting the needs of the hospital.

 

What is the Humour Foundation?

The Humour Foundation is a charity dedicated to promoting and delivering the health benefits of humour.

The Humour Foundation is a public company, limited by guarantee. It is a Public Benevolent Institution with DGR status.

Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Clown DoctorsTM is the core program delivered by The Humour Foundation.

Elder ClownsTM is a program delivered by The Humour Foundation that aims to improve the quality of life of residents in aged care facilities.

Laughter WorksTM and Laughter BossTM are educational programs of talks and workshops for the health and welfare sector and other corporate or community groups.

 

Who are the Clown Doctors?

Clown Doctors are professional performers selected for their high level of skills as well as their personal qualities such as sensitivity and caring.

Clown Doctors are excellent at improvisation and Clown, and have other skills such music, magic, mime, puppetry and balloon sculpting.

They are trained by The Humour Foundation to work in the sensitive hospital setting.

The Humour Foundation provides state based, on-going training in performance skills and hospital issues, and holds an annual conference for all the Clown Doctors from around Australia to help them gain professional development.

Click here to meet your local Clown Doctor team.

 

Where are Clown Doctors?

Clown Doctors are hosted by all major children’s hospitals around Australia, and some general hospitals and hospices.

As part of the Outreach program, they also visit regional and metro hospitals and aged care facilities.

 

Do host hospitals pay for Clown Doctors to visit?

No, none of the hospitals we visit pay for Clown Doctors; we provide our service free of charge to them. We keep our program 'operating' solely on the generous support of donors.

 

What hospitals do Clown Doctors visit regularly?

NSW

Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Bear Cottage, Manly

John Hunter Children's Hospital, Newcastle

Lismore Base Hospital

Royal North Shore Hospital

 

NT

Alice Springs Hospital

Royal Darwin Hospital

 

QLD

Royal Children's Hospital, Herston

Gold Coast Hospital

 

SA

The Women & Children's Hospital, Adelaide

Flinders Medical Centre

 

TAS

Royal Hobart Hospital

North West Hospital, Burnie

Launceston General Hospital

 

VIC

Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville

Monash Medical Centre

The Northern Hospital

Geelong Hospital

 

WA

Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth

Fremantle Hospital

 

ACT

Canberra Hospital

 

Do Clown Doctors visit other hospitals?

As part of the outreach program, Clown Doctors make one-off or regular visits to other hospitals when funding is available.

 

How do Clown Doctors work?

Clown Doctors parody the hospital routine to help children adapt to hospital life. Clown Doctors improvise, and work with each child’s interests or needs.

They can divert children during procedures, calm children in emergency and encourage children in physiotherapy. They work in partnership with health professionals.

While Doctors do their ward rounds, Clown Doctors do Clown Rounds; Doctors look at what’s wrong with the child, Clown Doctors look at what’s right, celebrating their health and happiness. The whole hospital community benefits - patients, families and staff.

They visit children at the bedside and involve them and their families. While children are encouraged to participate, some prefer to observe. Clown Doctors work as a duo, so kids are doused with a double dose of fun each time they see us.

Clown Doctors ask children’s permission, either verbally or non-verbally, to enter their room or bedside space, helping to return a sense of control to the child at a time when they can feel frightened or scared.

Clown Doctors visit all wards, including burns, oncology, emergency and intensive care, and of course the corridors, lifts and foyers.

Clown Doctors attend to the psycho-social needs of children in hospital.

 

How do the Clown Doctors actually help patients?

International research has found that laughter has both physiological and psychological benefits.

Doses of humour help relieve fear and stress and help recovery.

T cells and serum cortisol levels are lowered, thus boosting the immune system.

Muscles are relaxed and the cardiovascular system and respiratory system benefit. It is possible that endorphins reduce pain.

Click here to hear from patients, parents and staff about how much Clown Doctors have helped them.

 

Are Clown Doctors only for children?

Clown Doctors work with each person’s situation and interests, and adults benefit from Clown Doctors as much as children. We treat all carbon life forms.

 

How many people benefit?

Currently the 56 Clown Doctors around Australia make a difference to about 150,000 people a year.

 

How do I sponsor a Clown Doctor?

You can call 1300 HUMOUR or join up online. To sponsor a Clown Doctor you will need to commit to a monthly donation of $25 payable by credit card or direct debit. Click here to find out more about monthly Clown Doctor sponsorship.

 

How does my donation help?

Your donation goes directly towards keeping Clown Doctors at the bedside of sick children in hospital. Every year The Humour Foundation needs to continuously fundraise (we call it FUN-raising) enough money to maintain the Clown Rounds we have operating. Our aim is to be able to provide Clown Doctors in all major children’s hospitals around Australia seven days a week. Your monthly donation allows us to keep the Clown Doctors doing their rounds, and funding permitting, increase the number of Clown Rounds that we provide.

 

Does money donated to Clown Doctors stay in Australia?

Yes, all money donated to The Humour Foundation for Clown Doctors goes towards keeping Clown Doctors at the bedside of sick children in Australia. We do not send any of your money overseas.

 

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes, all donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.

 

How do I update my contact information?

To ensure our recrds are current we would love you to update your contact details with us when you change mailing address, contact number or email address.

Please submit your new information via our feedback form, including your old details and updated details.  You can also send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1300 HUMOUR to speak to our donor relations team.

It is important to update your information as it helps us keep costs down.  By keeping your contact information up to date we can:

-reduce administration costs by avoiding returned mail, and saving phone calls to incorrect numbers.

-create more effective communications, which means we can keep you up to date with the fantastic work of the Clown Doctors and ensure important correspondence, like tax receipts, reach you in a timely manner.

 

I am a Clown Doctor Sponsor and donate monthly, how do I update my donation/banking information?

To change your donation/banking details, please call our donor relations team on 1300 HUMOUR.  Alternatively, you can download a Change of Donation Details Form, complete it with your new details, scan and email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail to Level 1, 28 Bridge Street, Pymble NSW 2073.

If you prefer, feel free to call us on 1300 HUMOUR and we can send you the form out in the post.

 

I am a Clown Doctors Sponsor and donate monthly, how do I change my donation amount/stop my donations?

To change your donation amount or put your donations on hold, please call us on 1300 HUMOUR. 

Alternatively, you can send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail a letter with your request to Level1, 28 Bridge Street, Pymble NSW 2073.

Please allow for at least 3 working days before the next debit date for your request to be processed in time.  A confirmation email will be sent to you once the change has been completed.

 

I didn't receive/misplaced my consolidated tax receipt, can I get a copy sent to me?

If you are one of our amazing Clown Doctors Sponsors, and we have a valid mailing address for you, we will send you a consolidated tax receipt each year.  If your receipt does not reach you, please contact us by phoning 1300 HUMOUR or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be happpy to issue a copy of your receipt to you.