Humour Therapy

Permission to have fun!

The Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses and ElderClowns (SMILE) is a randomised controlled trial of humour therapy.

About 400 residents from 36 hostels and nursing homes were randomly assigned to receive the either the SMILE intervention or usual care. For the intervention, ElderClowns visited weekly for 12 weeks, and staff volunteers were trained as LaughterBosses to bring humour to daily care routines.

SMILE evaluated the effects of humour therapy on:

  • the level of mood and engagement in residents with depression or low engagement;
  • quality of life and behavioural disturbance of residents in residential aged care facilities (RACFs);
  • staff morale, satisfaction and turnover within RACFs;

The project looks at the sustainability of the intervention program and its effects; as well as the costs and benefits.