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Arts and Health Australia

Is There a Place for Humour and Mischief in Creative Ageing?

This presentation will explore how humour is increasingly being be utilised in this difficult and changing area in our society. LaughterBoss(TM) is a training program designed for a residential aged care facility that has residents in hostel, nursing home care as well as dementia care. Attendees encompass carers, diversional and occupational therapists, AIN's, RN's, the DON as well as the CEO. What happens when staff train together? What are the steps taken to transform a creative possibility into everyday reality in a residential care community?

The plenary will explore the use of humour in care delivery; review the evidence based science behind the appropriate use of humour in care delivery; survey current practice and some of the trends and innovations in the use of humour and play in healthcare; share audio-visual 'vignettes' that bring to life the use of humour and play in Hospitals and healthcare settings; and discuss the roles of humour and play in arts based healthcare.

Dr Peter SpitzerDr. Peter Spitzer

Dr Spitzer is Australia's most famous and first medical Clown Doctor (aka Dr Fruit Loop). He is the Medical Director, cofounder and Inaugural Chairman of the Humour Foundation charity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health benefits of humour. As a physician he works in a general medical practice and has training in acupuncture, musculoskeletal medicine, hypnosis, psychotherapy and natural medicine.

As a Clown Doctor, he visits children in hospital, bringing healing laughter to relieve stress and fear, and aid recovery. Clown Doctors also play a role in palliative care for adults and children, and more recently have expanded their program to include nursing homes. Dr. Spitzer is involved in the training of Clown Doctors. In 2003, he developed the "LaughterBoss" training program to enable healthcare professionals in nursing homes to develop creative skills in introducing humour and laughter into their practice. In addition he is actively involved in bringing the arts to both undergraduate and postgraduate medical, nursing and allied health programs.

In 2001 Dr Spitzer was awarded the Churchill Fellowship to study the international impact of hospital clown units on the health care system. He is also currently involved in a joint study between the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre of University of New South Wales and the Humour Foundation in the landmark 3 year SMILE (Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses and ElderClowns 2009 - 2011).