Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

[Effect of interaction with clowns on vital signs and non-verbal communication of hospitalized children]

Journal title
Revista paulista de pediatria : orgao oficial da Sociedade de Pediatria de Sao Paulo
Publication year
Alcantara, P. L.; Wogel, A. Z.; Rossi, M. I.; Neves, I. R.; Sabates, A. L.; Puggina, A. C.

OBJECTIVE: Compare the non-verbal communication of children before and during interaction with clowns and compare their vital signs before and after this interaction. METHODS: Uncontrolled, intervention, cross-sectional, quantitative study with children admitted to a public university hospital. The intervention was performed by medical students dressed as clowns and included magic tricks, juggling, singing with the children, making soap bubbles and comedic performances. The intervention time was 20minutes. Vital signs were assessed in two measurements with an interval of one minute immediately before and after the interaction. Non-verbal communication was observed before and during the interaction using the Non-Verbal Communication Template Chart, a tool in which nonverbal behaviors are assessed as effective or ineffective in the interactions. RESULTS: The sample consisted of 41 children with a mean age of 7.6+/-2.7 years; most were aged 7 to 11 years (n=23; 56%) and were males (n=26; 63.4%). There was a statistically significant difference in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pain and non-verbal behavior of children with the intervention. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased and pain scales showed decreased scores. CONCLUSIONS: The playful interaction with clowns can be a therapeutic resource to minimize the effects of the stressing environment during the intervention, improve the children’s emotional state and reduce the perception of pain.

Research abstracts