Who is the Laughter Boss?
“What if one person from each aged care facility took on additional training, as well as doing their regular work, and became the Laughter Boss of that facility?” This was the creative and driving thought of Dr Peter Spitzer.
As a staff member, the Laughter Boss knows the people, the environment, the ethos and culture of their facility.
Bringing humour and laughter into aged care assists staff to meet the quality of life and psychosocial care issues of residents. The Laughter Boss is the modern-day equivalent of the court jester. The healing power of humour is well known – sharing a smile and a laugh connects people, lowers stress, reduces anxiety, relieves tension, boosts the immune system and creates an atmosphere of positivity and warmth.
“It is the job of the Laughter Boss, via open-heart surgery, to touch the soul and give it room to smile and laugh.” Dr Peter Spitzer.
Laughter, humour and play in the aged care facility do not stand alone. Whilst these meet quality of life and psychosocial 'coal face' issues, they can only work in cooperative partnership with other therapeutic modalities and optimal care. Usually candidates self-select to attend training, but they must have the approval and enthusiastic support of management to find long term effectiveness in their role.
Laughter Bosses come from any area within the facility. Ideal candidates are staff members who have intimate knowledge of residents, families and staff, as well as a thorough understanding of the environment and culture. We have trained people whose 'day jobs' include Chief Executive, Director of Nursing, Charge Nurse, Enrolled Nurse, Nurses Aid, Diversional Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Clergy.
Laughter Boss Training
Initial training is a full day, involving approximately 20 people. There is an introduction to the work of Clown Doctors, Elder Clowns, Laughter Boss and how humour can be introduced into the aged care setting.
Training includes review of evidence-based medicine, positive psychology, psychoneuroimmunology, examination of performance-related activities in the aged care system, review of local and international programs, and presentation of current research in this area including the Smile Study in which The Humour Foundation is currently participating.
Expect a lot of experiential play and fun, as well as examining the role of props as communication tools. The group will also discuss other strategies such as musical opportunities and a mobile humour cart. Trainees receive some resource material to take back to their workplaces.
Training to become a Laughter Boss does not make the applicant a professional performer; they remain a health care professional who has developed creative skills to introduce humour and laughter into their facility.
Once graduated, it is the role of the Laughter Boss to use the power of humour to:
- create bonds through improved communication
- be nourishing and help with improved coping
- be supportive
- give cognitive control to others
- provide positive diversion
- generally increase the ‘smileage factor’
After training, the Laughter Boss has a new identity and should be easily recognisable. The Laughter Boss is then available at a moment’s notice – as the need arises. Graduates of the training workshop receive a Laughter Boss Certificate they can proudly and prominently display that says as the Laughter Boss, they are now certifiable.
Next Laughter Boss Training Dates:
Melbourne: Friday 28 October 2016
Hobart: Wednesday 23 November 2016
Adelaide: Wednesday 14 December 2016
Contact Sharna Southwell on 02 8978 4500 for further details.
Feedback from Graduates include:
"Permission to be silly"
"Always looking for opportunities to make someone react"
"When staff join in, morale is boosted for the day"
"Domino effect promoting conversation and stimulating interaction"
"The simple things work best"
"Dementia clients demonstrate most change such as reduced challenging behaviours"
"Laughter from both residents and visiting family with all joining in"
"Great QA for our accreditation and audits"