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Later, Joan Barrington, whose clown persona is Bunky, seems pensive. A doctor whispered in my ear, asked me to coax the girl and her family out of the room and get her walking. She was still very sad, very motionless. But she was watching everything.
And sometimes that's enough. Informed by SickKids that the program would have to be funded privately, Barrington raised funds to hire Ridd as the program's first therapeutic clown. Months later, Bunky joined the brigade. In the ensuing 15 years, the program has expanded to a clinic of 11 clowns, now seeing 10 patients per year, and solely funded by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.
Each works 3 days per week and is paid 1 day a month for professional development. In , Barrington, along with strategic planner Mary Hirst and chartered accountant Heather Spinks created a national organization called Therapeutic Clowns Canada, which has since disbanded , with a mandate to establish and fund clowning programs in every amenable pediatric facility in Canada, on the proviso that after 2 years, the affiliated hospital would pick up the tab.
The number of hospitals with programs has since leapt to 17 from 3 and the number of pediatric clowns to 52 from 4. That's an awful lot of clowns, particularly if, as a a recent University of Sheffield study indicated, many children dislike or fear clowns Nursing Standard ; But Barrington, who for 15 years served as manager, clown and chief fundraiser for the SickKids program, rejects the notion that 52 Canadians have been given licence to wander pediatric wards and torment ailing youngsters.
Unlike their circus or party cousins, therapeutic clowns don't perform and don't arrive with prepared routines and rehearsed pratfalls, she says.
Therapeutic clowning is not about the clown. It's about empowering the children. They don't have any choice over who comes in or out of their room, the doctors who care for them, the illness that they have, or the medications they take. We offer them choices.
Always asking permission, we will never go into a room uninvited. He can't do that with anyone else. The child leads the play with Bunky.
They become the caregivers. Arlette Lefebvre, a child psychiatrist at SickKids and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, notes that clowns provide children with a sense of mastery over their environment, helping them cope with the physical and emotional stress of being in hospital.
They enable the children to feel more comfortable and less scared and that's an important factor in recovery. Anxiety and fear can contribute to pain and slow down participation in recovery. Serious things happen here, right? And clowns are a contradiction for many. So people are forced to think about health care in a more holistic way. It's not just about giving the right meds and doing surgical procedures but also about the emotional needs that sick children have.
The unit suddenly becomes this uplifting, bright place. You can see it in the faces of the parents, too. All of a sudden their child is a child again, playing like a child and smiling. You strip away your defences, your faces, so that you live in this vulnerable, very honest place.
As Posy, I let things happen to me and go with the flow. The overall adherence in was Comparing this to our results mean adherence of 8.
Another study by Sriganesh et al. They found an improvement from a mean number of reported items of 6.
The reporting of several separate items was in a similar range as found in our study. For example, funding was also not reported within a single abstract in pain journals and the randomization was only reported in 2. Another two assessments of CONSORT-A in specialized medical fields anesthesia and oral implantology journals found similar results as well [ 25 , 26 ].
Inclusion criteria and data extraction were clearly defined and pilot tested.
The screening of abstracts for inclusion as well as the data extraction was conducted in duplicate and all discrepancies were resolved by discussion. Our model-based analysis indicated a strong improvement even after accounting for clustering at the journal and item level, and adjusting for the study sample size.
Moreover, there was no evidence of a gradual improvement over time suggesting the introduction of CONSORT-A as a plausible reason for the observed effect. We also assessed two specific items for non-pharmacological treatments highlighting that they are in general rarely reported.
There are a number of limitations worth mentioning. First, even though explanation and elaboration papers try to explain and standardize correct reporting, the assessment of adequate reporting always includes judgment.
We tried to standardize our assessment by pilot testing, devising a manual, and extracting items in duplicate. Second, some items consist of several aspects which were only judged in general and not for each specific aspect.
Therefore, they were not blinded which could have influenced the result. According to their author instructions, both of these journals allow only words within abstracts which is rather short and might have influenced the adherence to CONSORT-A. Fifth, even though we also conducted an adjusted analysis, we could not account for other characteristics which may also explain a general improvement e.
However, we are convinced that this limitation does not influence our main conclusions. This evaluation indicated clearly that reporting in surgical abstracts improved underlining reason for that improvement can not be entirely assessed and, more importantly, that adequate reporting is still relatively low.
It is important that researchers are aware of the required information when presenting their results, so that readers can adequately and transparently judge the quality of the study. Journals with their editors play a crucial role in improving the abstract reporting. Other options to improve adequate reporting in abstracts could consist of actively requesting adherence to missing items during the peer-review process and of less strict word limits for RCTs.
However, the overall adherence remained unsatisfying and certain items were hardly ever adequately reported i. Compliance with ethical standards The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.