Something to SMILE about: Potential benefits to staff from humor therapy with nursing home residents
Life in residential care can be challenging for residents and staff. Bringing humor into this setting may benefit residents, creating a more productive, enjoyable work environment for staff. The potential effect of exposure to humor therapy on staff, both as active and incidental participants, as part of a randomized controlled trial of the effect of humor therapy for aged care residents was investigated in the Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses and ElderClowns (SMILE). The intervention involved a humor program with professional performers (ElderClowns) and trained facility staff (LaughterBosses) for a minimum of nine 2-hour sessions over 12 weeks. Methods included a staff survey at three time points, interviews with LaughterBosses, and a satisfaction rating by facility managers. There were significant positive findings for some staff subgroups, including assistants in nursing/personal care assistants and staff older than 45. LaughterBoss interviews and intervention group manager ratings of staff work enthusiasm were positive.