Priceless medicine at Parkwood

A free yet powerful medicine is sweeping through the halls of Parkwood Hospital in London. It’s laughter. If you hear patients and staff members having a good laugh, chances are the humour cart is not far away.

Propelled by the enthusiasm of music therapist Jill Kennedy Tufts and therapeutic recreation specialist Judy Beitz, the humour cart is filled with funny props, noise makers, DVDs and books geared to garnering laughs. “Young and old alike respond to the universal language of laughter,” says Jill.

Laughing is fun, but it also has significant health benefits ranging from diminishing pain, to boosting energy and the immune system, to reducing stress.

“Everyone does a double-take and laughs when they see us coming with the humour cart,” says Judy. “It’s our way of bringing moments of joy into the lives of our patients and residents.”

The cart, purchased thanks to grant made through the Anne Toal & Paul Brisson Fund for Patient Care Needs at Parkwood Hospital which is held by St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, is used for therapeutic recreation programs. Patients and residents can also borrow it to take advantage of all the laughter-inducing products.