Getting Started

Whether you plan a Laughter Library, a Pet Program or a Giggle Group, the following ideas will assist you.

Photo: Patient has time with his pet dog in hospital

Contact us to discuss the idea of putting a copy of the book Doctor, I feel funny in each patient's locker. This is a great way stimulate interest and give people ideas. In addition:

  1. Find out what other people are doing. Keep in mind that your circumstances are unique in terms of geography, resources, culture and patient mix. Ask your colleagues, patients and visitors for their ideas on what they think needs to be improved and how it could be done.
  2. Form a group of enthusiastic supporters at work. You will need these people to get the project started and also to maintain the momentum. Play together, have fun and brainstorm ideas.
  3. Hold fast to your sense of humour - you may need it.
  4. Put your idea forward to the people in charge. Try to find someone who understands what you want to achieve and is sympathetic to your idea. You may also need to document your plan with supporting articles and a copy of the book Doctor, I feel funny.
  5. Look for community groups for support. These include Lions Club and Rotary who are always interested in supporting a tangible project.
  6. Advertise for help. If you're setting up a Humour Library, ask people to donate funny books, cartoons, videos, tapes etc. to your worthy cause. Or paint for a waiting area, curtains, pictures/prints, plants etc. You'll be surprised what people will donate.
  7. Keep people informed. Project your enthusiasm, optimism and sense of humour in all your newsletters and bulletins.
  8. Make a start. Do what you can with what you've got. Be passionate and persistent. Eliminate cynicism, apathy and whinging.
  9. Monitor your progress and get feedback. Photo: lifting Patients spirits by visiting with Balloons and other fun things People rarely have an instant success. Ask yourself if you are achieving your goal. As you do so, keep people informed. Report with optimism: "It was an overwhelming response, one person showed up. We weren't expecting anyone!" "Great success, just a few modifications are needed."
  10. Make adjustments and keep going. Connect with other people who are also making a difference so you can encourage each other and swap ideas.

Dr Shayne Yates