268129 Can aerobic laughter therapy psychosocial support programs improve AIDS care delivery and adult and child patient outcomes? An analysis of results from 28 care groups comprising 479 caregivers caring for more than 10,000 adults and children across South Africa

Monday, October 29, 2012

Memory Matanda, MSc (psychology) , HappyMetrics, InHappiness (International Happiness Institute), Johannesburg, DC, South Africa
Bill Gee, Laughterologist , InHappiness (International Happiness Institute), Johannesburg, South Africa
Malik Jaffer, MPH , United States Agency for International Development, Pretoria, GA, South Africa
Kathy Wiebe-Randeree, MBA , Office of the CEO, Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital Complex, Klerksdorp, DC, South Africa
Estelle Du Toit, Professional Nurse , Nursing Management, Matlosana Hospice, Klerksdorp, GA, South Africa
Background: HIV/AIDS caregivers and patients experience high levels of stress. Many experience depression and burnout that can reduce quality of life, reduce worker productivity and quality of care, speed disease progression and increase mortality. Psychosocial support programs using aerobic laughter therapy (ALT) provide cognitive behavioral therapy within the framework of positive psychology. The efficacy of this program was investigated across 28 care groups comprising 479 caregivers caring for more than 10,000 adults and children across South Africa. Methods: A meta-analysis was conducted from data collected from groups that received ALT training and engaged in daily peer-to-peer ALT therapy group sessions of 10-15 minutes. Qualitative, quantitative and performance assessments were analyzed to gauge program impact on caregiver mental wellbeing, workplace performance, patient mental wellbeing and adherence to medications and treatment. Results: Results indicated consistent and dramatic improvement in mental wellbeing in careworkers and adult and child patients. Careworker stress and depression reduced, coping skills improved, and productivity increases of up to 56% were seen. Patient stress, mood swings and depression consistently decreased, mental and physical wellbeing improved, increased adherence to treatment and medication was reported, and support group attendance increased by up to 500%. Reports by careworkers indicate significant benefits for adults patients and powerful benefits for orphans and vulnerable children. Conclusions: Aerobic laughter based PSS programs are sustainable and can result in significant improvements in the quality of life, efficacy and productivity of HIV careworkers and increase both the quality and quantity of care provided. Further study is recommended.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the results including improved AIDS care delivery, adult and child patient outcomes achieved using achieved with aerobic laughter therapy psychosocial support programs in South Africa. Analyze whether this program could benefit programs that I am involved in.

Keywords: Mental Health, Well-Being

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior technical advisor for health systems strengthening including improving health workforce retention and effectiveness. Among my scientific interests has been the design, testing and evaluating of programs to improve the well-being of health care workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.