Clown Doctors New Zealand

We bring JOY & LAUGHTER to the children in hospitals, LIFT the SPIRITS of people in need and contribute to making our society more HEARTFELT & HUMOROUS  

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Seniors programme

The original and main focus of the Clown Doctors is on children in hospitals, but we have extended our work and also visit geriatric wards.  Work with the elderly calls for a different approach. Clown Doctors are trained to understand the complex physical and mental health needs of older people.  To help seniors to cope with changes in their physical and mental abilities, dementia or depression, Clown Doctors must utilise other tools and skills than those that they encounter when working with other patients (e.g. pediatric, mental health, or rehabilitation).   


  Photo: Patrick Bellett

Testimonials and Feedback

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate...

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 Dear Rita and Thomas

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the Clown Doctors' visits to the ward where I work. Sometimes the clowns can reach patients and lift their spirits in a way that our usual care and treatment cannot. For example, one elderly woman had been very slowed up, glum and unresponsive for weeks. When the clowns visited she smiled and paid attention, and even got up to dance. This seemed to be a turning point in her severe depression; she went on to improve slowly and eventually recover fully. Many thanks for bringing the Clown Doctors to our hospital!


Dr Chris Collins - Specialist in Psychiatry of Older People,
Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch


The clown doctors have been visiting ...

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17th November 2009

To Whom it May Concern

Re: The Clown Doctors

The clown doctors have been visiting the Older Persons Health Speciality Service inpatient wards at Princess Margaret Hospital for just over four months. They are currently visiting the wards once a fortnight.  We have many requests from staff and patients about the possibility of the clowns visiting more often but due to current financial restraints the clown doctors can only come every two weeks at the moment.

The sound of the ukulele in the corridor is an alert for me that the clowns have arrived to provide their highly artistic and humorous work to the older people who are currently patients in the hospital. Princess Margaret Hospital provides assessment, treatment and rehabilitation to older people who are recovering from strokes, general ill health, or learning to manage their chronic diseases, acutely depressed and patients who have dementia. I see the clowns work as adding a moment in time where the patients and sometimes their families are able to laugh and smile which in turn lifts the spirit of these patients and families; as well as the nurses and other staff who care for them. The clowns have also worked sensitively with our terminally ill patients and families on request. 

We sincerely embrace the clown doctors as being part of the interdisciplinary team at Older Person Health and look forward to the ongoing working relationship we have with the clown service.

Yours sincerely

Kathy Peri - Director Of Nursing
Older Person’s Health Speciality Service
The Princess Margaret Hospital


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