Involving medical clowns in medical treatment significantly improves patients’ experience, according to a study conducted at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The study found that Shaare Zedek’s “Dream Doctors” helped children with cerebral palsy who were undergoing recurrent botulinum toxin injections. The researchers discovered that the involvement of the medical clowns reduced the pain the young patients felt, not only during the initial injection but also during subsequent injections, even if the clowns were not present for the later treatment.

The Shaare Zedek study was supported by the Magi Foundation.

Participating in the study “was a very special and enlightening experience,” shared “Dr. Sababa” (aka Avraham Cohen). “The challenge was to create tools that can be used when a child is undergoing a specific treatment and to ensure that those tools can be used by clowns in any country and under an array of situations. The study showed what we really already knew — a medical clown that is skilled and professional really makes a difference in the patient’s experience.”

The Dream Doctors Project integrates therapeutic medical clowns into Shaare Zedek and more than 20 other Israeli hospitals. It trains them to work as part of various medical units carrying out procedures to improve patient well-being and advance care. Each Dream Doctor has a rich background in the dramatic arts in addition to the hospital training. Like Shaare Zedek’s other professionals and paraprofessionals, members of our Dream Doctors team work according to a set schedule determined according to the Hospital’s needs.

“Our work focuses on developing trust with the young patients. They call the shots. We follow their lead and together we can conquer anything,” explained “Jacko” (aka Jacob) after the Shaare Zedek Dream Doctors completed a daylong training session with more >