Imagine the surprise of patients who have been isolated for days, weeks and months by covid-19 when they see a character dressed in protective overalls, gloves, a mask, a face shield and & mldr; enter their hospital room. A red nose! For now, in Spain this scene can only exist in the imagination for various reasons: due to the restrictive protocols that govern health centers, the widespread idea that laughter does not paint anything in situations of suffering and by prejudices towards the figure of the clown. However, these professionals have been operating throughout the pandemic in hospitals in Israel, including covid-19 wards.
“These patients suffer extreme loneliness and for us, as an integral part of the medical team, it is natural to give them emotional support and empower them to overcome the disease, “explains Tsour Shriqui, director of the Israeli project. Dream Doctors. Shriqui was one of the speakers at the first journey Humor x Health Day organized last Tuesday by Pallapupas. The meeting brought together 350 people and showed that emotional well-being is the great forgotten of the pandemic.
“Now or never”
“They tell us that now is not the time to laugh, that we have to take things seriously,” said the founder and director of the Catalan organization of hospital clowns, Angie Rosales. “But we tell politicians and health managers they are wrong. Now or never is the time to incorporate humor and laughter as a part of the therapy that we all need to lower the levels of anguish, uncertainty and frustration “.
The reference epidemiologist Antoni Trilla picks up the glove on the possibility of opening the covid rooms to these professionals, who were separated during the first wave and currently can only enter 4 of the 15 centers where they used to act before the pandemic. “If the safety conditions are met from the biological point of view so that there is no risk of contagion, it may be an action to consider for certain patients with covid-19 & rdquor;, he says.
Trilla values the usefulness of humor above all to face long recoveries from the coronavirus and also to mitigate the psychic and emotional fatigue of health personnel: “Sometimes we see everything black and, although someone may consider it inappropriate, I believe that humor is worth using as an escape valve to de-stress“.
While here it is still in the planning phase, in Israel (a country also very affected by the pandemic) they do not hesitate to let in the red nose, the shoes and the ukulele in the isolation rooms. “Do you know what the only good thing about the covid is?” Shriqui says, anticipating the question of how they can make humor by going so covered. now people look much more in the eyes. In addition, the clown also communicates with body language and music “.
For this situation to occur here, Angie Rosales believes that it would have to occur “a change of mind”, both by health personnel and patients: “We have a very biologist approach to medicine and that is from the last century. In 2009 the WHO already warned that we must move towards a model of bio-psycho-social medicine that takes into account all the factors that contribute to a disease “.
During the Humor x Health Day event, the results of a study commissioned by Pallapupas were presented, according to which their interventions with cancer patients reduce the anguish of patients by 40%. Too some myths fell, such as the perception that hospital clowns are volunteers and only for children.
“We are prepared to adapt humor to all situations, even with terminal patients -assures Rosales-. Has a person ever cried when he saw us, but That is the greatness of the clown, which connects us with life and helps us to recognize ourselves and show ourselves as vulnerable beings“.
Carmen Arriaza met these professionals when her daughter was admitted for an accident and the Pallapupas helped her to lose your fear of white coats. Last year, when she underwent breast cancer surgery, she met them again during radiotherapy: “That they make you laugh under those circumstances is a shot of the best medicine “, opines. So good is his experience that he proposes the creation of “an average grade of hospital clowns”. In fact, the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona has an optional subject on Pallapupas.