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Hospital ordinances for clowns

Discussion in 'Hospital Clowning' started by Dynamo, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Dynamo

    Dynamo Well-Known Member

    What ordinances do most hospitals have for clowns? I was thinking about volunteering my time with children patients.
     
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  2. Bonkers #361

    Bonkers #361 New Member

    That is a great question. I only checked one in my area and they have their own clowns.
     
  3. Gumball

    Gumball New Member

    Each hospital is very different. At the children's hospital I clown at, I am under the authority of the volunteer services. I had to go through orientation, background check and TB test. My caring clown training was not through the hospital.

    I clown in full makeup, wig and costume as Gumball. I have friends that clown in other hospitals - they are not allowed to wear wigs and use minimal make-up. Some are clowny Drs and Nurses. I am not permitted to parody any medical personnel or procedures. I entertain with origami and light shtick. Currently, I'm the only clown at my hospital and have volunteered over 500 hours since Feb 2008 as a clown. It is so much more fun to clown in pairs and it is usually recommended, but I can't find anyone in my area interested in going.

    I've spoken with other clowns who have tried for years to be allowed to clown at their local hospitals without success. Some even work at the hospital.

    I am not paid for the clowning I do at the hospital, although I know some clowns in other areas are. Most of the caring clowns I know are also not paid.

    My suggestion is to start with the volunteer service department of your local hospital.
     
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  4. Dynamo

    Dynamo Well-Known Member

    Okay, I will give it a try in a children hospital in Detroit.

    I hope the hospital rules requires children to hold the objects I hand to them. I can understand some hospitals being tight on that rule because of possible germs. David Copperfield did have permission to hand the children magic tricks. It was basically rope tricks that would help children with physical therapy as they practiced magic tricks.
     
  5. Gumball

    Gumball New Member

    In my hospital, an item has to be able to be sanitized if others touch it or or it comes in contact with anything in a patients room (table, chair, bed countertop etc). If it can't be sanitized it has to stay with the patient or be put away and not reused at the hospital. It would be different in public areas or for the general public, but in a hospital setting there are many nasty germs and people with compromised immune systems.

    I use hand sanitizer before I enter a room and again when I leave the room. Even if I go into a room just beside the previous one, I have to sanitize again as I enter - and make sure the patient and visitors see me do that.

    Before you contact a hospital about clowning, please be prepared and do your homework about caring clowning. One person who doesn't follow proper hospital protocol can ruin it for future clowns wanting to go into hospitals! This has happened at other hospitals.
     
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  6. Fitzwilly

    Fitzwilly COAI Secretary

    Hazel will be teaching a class on caring clowning at the Fling. She has been a medical professional for close to 25 years believe.
     
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  7. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Some hospitals stopped taking volunteers off the street and only work with organizations instead. The Big Apple Circus has their Clown Care Unit which visits many hospitals and I know they are having auditions in the Baltimore area next month.
     
  8. Gladman

    Gladman Well-Known Member

    I make rounds in the pediatric ward and do Santa in the hospital where I work as a registered nurse. In fact, they have me clock in, which is nice because sometimes it brings me some overtime. I give out stuffed animals and some other toys as approved by the manager of the ward and infection control. I also volunteer at a larger hospital where I do not work. More red tape there, but I find most hospitals are glad to have someone to brighten the kids' corners. You won't go wrong if you ask go through the correct channels and ask lots of questions. Get everything approved. Let them know that you only want to help the staff, not get in the way. Sprinkle in some humor; the staff certainly need a good laugh and then some. Always check with the primary nurse of charge nurse before entering a room. Take your cues from the kids. A little wave and silly smile from the doorway may be all you can get away with, especically the first time they see you. Remember, these kids are sick and have a truck load of "strangers" disturbing them for BPs, temps, needle sticks, yucky meds, You will have to win them over, which will come easier the more you do it. So take the plunge. And don't let the few sour ones (patients or nurses) spoil your mission.
     
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  9. saphireSue

    saphireSue True Blue

    just wanted to add that most of you mentioned children. Our hospital is a small hospital very few if any kids in there most of the time. But adults get a kick out of clowns as well. I'm currently not doing it, but when I was the staff would go ahead and annouce I was coming and check to see who wanted a visit, [not to violate hippa privacy] and you'd be surprized at the possitve responses I got, even got a proposal once from one older gent who stood by his door til I got to his room. So don't limit yourself to just the children.
     
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  10. Jodie

    Jodie New Member

    I love hospital clowning. They do have a lot of rules but the pay-back smiles, hugs and appreciation from the patients is well worth any effort put into the clowning at the hospital. First we stop at the unit desk and ask if there is anyone we should not go see. We always knock at the door and say It is the clown can we come in for a visit? If they say no, we just say that is ok and go onto the next room. We have received many blessings do volunteering clowning. This will be year 16 for me. Now we will be stating out with two new clowns on our next clowns on rounds. :applause:
     
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  11. maverick

    maverick Member

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  12. adagiofrazzle

    adagiofrazzle New Member

    I am a clown with no bounds. No hospital ordinances for me, thankyou.
     
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