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Clowns to help treat patients at the Dima Rogachev Federal Research Center of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology

As part of a charity project “Dr. Clown” the program laugh therapy for little patients was launched at the Moscow Center of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Now, along with medical oncologists, clowns are helping children to cope with serious illnesses. Instead of the usual medical gowns new employees wear colourful costumes and bandanas, false noses and braids and huge bright shoes.

“Channel One” reports that, according to doctors, “laugh therapy” for seriously ill children is very effective. Children can stay from few weeks up to six months in their patient’s rooms and clowning sessions can help to distract them from the painful treatment and recall that they are nevertheless children .

Hospital clowning as therapy is used in Europe and America since the early 1980s. In our country, “laugh therapy” sessions became available in the charity project “Dr. Clown” since 2005. In the summer of 2011 the first school for hospital clowns opened in Moscow. In order to obtain the right to engage with children, “medical” clowns Kostik, Yanka, Dolka, Maxim, La- La, Dol, Minutka and Broshka were trained there in the basics of child psychology and pedagogy. Today, they are awaited by little patients in Russian Children’s Clinical Hospital, Morozov Children’s Hospital, Cancer Center at Kashirka, department of neurosurgery at Burdenko Hospital and in Children's Department at Botkin Hospital, as well as at Burns Center and at Hospital in Balashikha.

“A doctor in a white coat, with medical instruments, is my standard image. On the one hand, I'm a doctor, on the other - their friend, the one to trust. In this way they learn not to be afraid of doctors. Begin to realize that by giving painful injections, the doctor wishes them well and recovery. In general, I can arrive to the hospital and in a suit of Karlsson, Buratino, Piero or Harlequin. The favorite game of my children is “the hospital”. They like to make game of everything, they start to treat me – children here know this well. They bandage me, sear wounds, wipe with alcohol, auscultate, make injections and even put a catheter and a dropper. Apparently, it is interesting for them to switch places with a doctor. For them, this is a kind of escape,” professional medical clown Konstantin Sedov said about his experience.