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Sep 10, 2018

Thank you for giving giggles!

Thank you for choosing to support our Giggle Doctor programme through GlobalGiving. At the Theodora Children’s Charity, we believe that all children deserve laughter. By combining music, play and storytelling, Giggle Doctors improve wellbeing and bring magical moments to children facing huge challenges with their health. Last year, our 25 Giggle Doctors visited more than 33,000 sick and disabled children. This would not be possible without your very generous support. 

During their visits, our Giggle Doctor visits aim to:

  • Reduce distress and anxiety
  • Increase opportunities for play in the healthcare environment
  • Improve wellbeing

The children are not just spectators but participants in the experience and every child that wishes to be visited is visited. It is not always about laughter, sometimes the focus of the visit might be on music, magic or storytelling.  At other times a few bubbles may be what is needed or perhaps just a balloon left at the foot of the bed. The interaction is always led by the child and each Giggle Doctor is highly trained to be sensitive to the child’s needs and their individual situation.

“The Giggle Doctors provide laughter and escape from the hospital environment for not only the children but their families too. Recently a child was transferred here from another hospital so was in an unfamiliar hospital but was visited by a Giggle Doctor who had seen them previously in another hospital. This provided them with great reassurance and helped them to settle much more easily”. Hospital Staff Member

Measuring the impact of your support

We work hard to develop the amount and range of feedback we collect to measure the charity’s impact and we are committed to providing the best possible service that we can. Our online survey is open for feedback from parents and guardians all year round. We also collect feedback from the hospital staff and parents during our Impact Focus Days. Here are some of the results:

  • 100% of parents/guardians believed that the Giggle Doctors had a positive effect on their child
  • 71% of parents/guardians believed that Giggle Doctors reduced stress and anxiety for their children whilst in hospital.
  • 75% of parents/guardians believed that the Giggle Doctors increased opportunities for play in hospital. 

“The Giggle Doctors are like a special treat and they are really good at getting through to the kids. They make a massive difference.”  Parent.

"We met Dr Whoopee today! What an amazing Giggle Doctor!!! Thank you for brightening up our day. My son was very fearful of being in hospital and in a lot of pain. Dr Whoopee distracted him from the pain, had him laughing and helped him have a positive visit to a hospital. She definitely helped take his worries away!” Parent

How your support helps children like Alfie

Alfie's Mum recently got in touch to tell us how our Giggle Doctors made Alfie smile whilst he was in hospital.

"Alfie was 5 when he was diagnosed with burkitts leukaemia. He spent nearly 4 months on the ward at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

We met Dr I-spy during our first week on the ward and she made us all smile and laugh which we hadn't done for a long time. As the weeks went on Alfie got to know when the Giggle Doctors were coming and would be ready and waiting for them to come. As soon as he saw Dr I-spy he would run up to her and make jokes with her.

The Giggle Doctors are so important for not only the children but the parents as well. They make it all seem so much easier and make you remember that it's ok to laugh when things are rubbish.

We can't thank you all enough for what you do". 

Thank you

Thank you so much for choosing to support our Giggle Doctor programme and helping us to bring fun and laughter to poorly children in hospital, hospices and specialist care centres. Our work really wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our supporters like yourself.  

Our 2017-2019 strategy is to increase the number of children we are able to visit from 33,000 children a year in 2017 to 43,500 children a year by the end of 2019. Your support is helping us to work towards this goal. 

If you have any questions or would like to talk further about our work, please feel free to get in touch.

Jun 12, 2018

Thank you for giving giggles!

Thank you for choosing to support us through GlobalGiving. Last year, our Giggle Doctors visited over 33,000 children in 21 hospitals, 3 hospices and 2 specialist care centres across England. Your support helped make this possible. 

We recently received this lovely feedback from a parent that I thought I would share with you, to help illustrate how your funding makes a difference:

“Last week my daughter was admitted to our local hospital as her legs stopped working after a minor car crash. It was very worrying and our local hospital transferred us to Evelina Hospital for examination. Dr Easy Peasy visited us - her timing couldn't have been any better. We had literally just arrived and were feeling very sad for the other children on the ward and very sorry for ourselves. My daughter is fourteen and not wanting to sound rude, we didn’t really want Dr Easy Peasy to stop at our bed. Well, Dr Easy Peasy was exactly what we needed, I cannot put into words what she did for us. She was absolutely fantastic and we will never forget her… Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Our Giggle Doctor visits aim to:

  • Reduce distress and anxiety
  • Increase opportunities for play in the healthcare environment
  • Improve wellbeing

Each interaction is tailored to the child and the Giggle Doctor visits are designed to provide whatever the child needs at the time, whether it’s a joke, a song or simply companionship. 

"You only have to look around the wards when the Giggle Doctors are here to see how much the children enjoy the visits. Lots of happy, smiling children, which is what you want to see when a child is in hospital. We all know hospitals can be frightening and boring places for children, however, that is not the case when the Giggle Doctors are around. The children are relaxed, happy and excited. The perfect prescription for sick children”. Hospital Play Coordinator

Measuring the impact of your support

We work hard to develop the amount and range of feedback we collect to measure the charity’s impact and we are committed to providing the best possible service that we can. Our online survey is open for feedback from parents and guardians all year round. We also collect feedback from the hospital staff and parents during our Impact Focus Days. Here are some of the results:

  • 100% of parents/guardians believed that the Giggle Doctors had a positive effect on their child
  • 71% of parents/guardians believed that Giggle Doctors reduced stress and anxiety for their children whilst in hospital.
  • 75% of parents/guardians believed that the Giggle Doctors increased opportunities for play in hospital. 

“You guys are amazing. My daughter loved your Giggle Doctors on the wards whilst fighting her battle with cancer. Please keep doing what you do.” Parent

“We love Dr Silly Dovetail. Thank you for the laughs and giggles, you made the tough times easier”. Parent

How your support helped children like Max

At two years old Max was diagnosed with cancer. What followed was over three years of intensive chemotherapy. Today thankfully Max’s condition has improved, although he still has to attend regular hospital appointments for check-ups. Max’s Mum told us:

“When Max was younger he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Max pretty much grew up in hospital - he was two when he was first diagnosed and nearly six by the time his treatment finished. Max has had over three years worth of chemotherapy and steroids. 

It was just after Max was diagnosed when he met the Giggle Doctors for the first time. Max was receiving treatment for an infection and a Giggle Doctor came into his ward and blew bubbles that wouldn’t burst. Max thought it was the best thing ever - he couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t burst! He had been very quiet and sullen for days and the visit brought him out of himself a little bit. 

Since then, Max has seen the Giggle Doctors lots of times. As a parent with a child in hospital, you are constantly trying to find ways to keep your child amused and happy; which can be really tough. Then the Giggle Doctors visit and for that moment in time you can just sit back and see that your child is happy. It’s taking their mind off of what they are waiting to do and face, whether that be a test, a scan, or seeing a doctor. It alleviates the worry for that little while.” 

Thank you

Our 2017-2019 strategy is to increase the number of children we are able to visit from 33,000 children a year in 2017 to 43,500 children a year by the end of 2019. Your support has helped us to work towards this goal. 

We are very grateful for your support which has made such a significant difference for so many sick and disabled children at a time when they need it most. Thank you so much. 

If you have any questions or would like to talk further about our work, please feel free to get in touch.

Apr 3, 2018

Giggle Doctor Programme

Our Impact in 2017
Our Impact in 2017

 Thank you for supporting us through GlobalGiving. Your support has helped us to reach thousands of children. Children just like Amy:

“Dr Snug’s visits gives us a little break and it also gives us hope. When Amy was last in hospital she was having her tube out and hadn’t spoken for a day. She went all that time without speaking and just went in to herself emotionally. When Dr Snug visited, she actually started smiling and talking. She helped to bring her back. Dr Snug does so much. You can see she really cares about all of the children she visits. She has so much love to give them.”Heidi, Amy’s Mum

It costs £10 to fund a Giggle Doctor visit for one child so any donations received through GlobalGiving help children to laugh and feel at ease during what can be an incredibly difficult time in their lives and we are so grateful.

Helping us to reach even more children

Donations through GlobalGiving are used across our entire Giggle Doctor programme in 21 hospitals, 3 hospices and 2 specialist care centres. This means that your donation has had a national impact, improving the hospital experience for thousands of children across England.

Measuring the impact of donations

We aim to

  • Reduce distress and anxiety
  • Increase opportunities for play in the healthcare environment
  • Improve well-being

Staff from the office conduct Impact Focus Days at each hospital once a year, to observe the Giggle Doctors and gather feedback from the children and their parents afterwards. These days give us the opportunity to ask more in-depth questions via a feedback form. We recently adapted our feedback form to make it double-sided; one side is very child-friendly and allows the child to tell us about the Giggle Doctor visit, whereas the other side asks the parents to give their feedback. This has allowed us to collect more authentic feedback to understand a Giggle Doctor visit from the point of view of a child.

  • 100% of parents/guardians believed that the Giggle Doctors had a positive effect on their child
  • 95% of parents/guardians rated the Giggle Doctors as Very Good or Excellent
  • 82% of parents/guardians felt the Giggle Doctors improved their child’s experience of being in hospital
  • 70% of parents/guardians believed that the Giggle Doctors helped to reduced distress and anxiety during their stay

Thanks to feedback collected, we are able to see the impact of the support we receive and how this correlates with our aims. It also means we will be able to continue to grow and improve our services in the future.

The lasting impact

Although a Giggle Doctor visit may only last a few minutes, the effect it can have on a child can last lifetime. The visits often have a longterm affect on the children and families they visit. 88% of parents said their child continued to talk about the Giggle Doctors after their visit and we often receive feedback from parents telling us the visits have helped to improve a child’s long-term experience of hospital:

"Because of the Giggle Doctors my daughter actually looks forward to coming to hospital for chemotherapy"

"We first met the Giggle Doctors 6 months ago, at Lewisham and Evelina hospitals. Louis still remembers these visits and talks about them, as well as more recent visits in the Royal Marsden. The Giggle Doctor visits have had an ongoing impact for Louis

The Giggle Doctor visits have helped my son to interact as he has developed a phobia of medical staff and the Giggle Doctors have helped him be less scared of people on the ward

The Giggle Doctors have helped Holly to make friends in hospital which has improved her experience and will hopefully help her when we have to come back to hospital

It is evident that our Giggle Doctor visits can have a significant impact on a child’s perception of the hospital environment.

Working closely with hospital and play staff

As part of our quality control we regularly observe the Giggle Doctors in action and work closely with hospital staff to monitor the quality of our work through regular meetings. What makes us stand out is the professionalism that our Giggle Doctors demonstrate. We pride ourselves on the quality of our artists who have been trained by us.

Alongside regular meetings with hospital staff, we also conduct an annual survey where we ask them to feedback their experiences with the Giggle

Doctors over the last year. Here are some of the results from our most recent survey:

  • 100% of hospital staff rated the Giggle Doctors as very good or excellent
  • 87% of hospital staff believed the Giggle Doctors increased opportunities for fun and play in hospital
  • 100% of hospital staff believed the Giggle Doctors improved the child’s experience of being in hospital
  • 87% of hospital staff believed the Giggle Doctors reduced distress and anxiety of the child during their stay

 We also regularly receive comments from hospital and play staff describing the impact of our Giggle Doctor programmes:

“The Giggle Doctors have been fantastic at not only creating smiles within the children's wards they visit but provide constant cheer even when walking through the corridors they have time to chat and make patients young and old smile”

“One of our children is very non -communicative and tends to sleep a lot. It was lovely to see her connect with the Giggle Doctor who got her attention and sat with her for over 30mins. It was wonderful to see.”

“A patient was due to go to High Dependency Unit (HDU) because of his oxygen levels. The Giggle Doctor came along and made him laugh, which bought his oxygen levels up again meaning he didn’t have to go to HDU!”

Thank you

The impact of our work and the difference our Giggle Doctors make is epitomised in this email we received from a parent recently:

“I wanted to get in touch to say thank you to the Giggle Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton who made such a difference to my daughter's time in hospital.

Rosie (aged 7) arrived at the Royal Marsden in December with stage 4 liver cancer... She was acutely unwell and very traumatised by the amount of intrusive interventions she had had to undergo in a previous hospital. It had been a complete whirlwind and we arrived at the Royal Marsden within a week of the diagnosis. Rosie stopped talking, and our typically happy chatty daughter withdrew into herself. It was heart-breaking to see. Just after Christmas she met two of your amazing Giggle Doctors, Dr Yo-Ho and Dr Bananas. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched with amazement as Rosie started smiling, laughing and talking again and for a while she was able to escape the pain and the grim reality of cancer. I hadn't heard her talk in over a week and hadn't seen her smile since before Christmas. The weekly visit of the Giggle Doctors became a real highlight in our week and something for Rosie to look forward to.

I wanted to express how grateful we are for the joy and laughter that the Giggle Doctors brought into Rosie's last few months of life. It is a wonderful charity which has an amazingly powerful impact on children and indeed on their families too.” Jane, Rosie’s Mum

We are very grateful for your support which has made such a significant difference for so many sick and disabled children at a time when they need it most. We are so grateful for the smiles that you have made possible for children and their families across England.

If you have any questions or would like to talk further about our work, please feel free to get in touch.

Alice Barley

Fundraising and Communications Manager

A Giggle Doctor visiting children
A Giggle Doctor visiting children

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