Background: In 1996 The Humour Foundation was established in Australia, drawing on inspiration from the work of Patch Adams and the Clown Care Unit in New York. The mission statement of the Foundation is to introduce and promote the health benefits of humour to patients, their families and health care professionals.
Objective: To describe the work of the Clown Doctors in Australia and the role of humour in relieving suffering.
Discussion: Clown Doctor Units have been established at several major hospitals throughout Australia. They use performance skills, humour, empathy and sensitivity to support, nourish, divert and help patients (and staff) cope with difficult situations.