Humor has been a large part of who I am and what I do. I use my standard joke name, "Frank N. Stein," around this time of year and have the per-diem therapists try and treat him. After looking around the facility for him, they usually realize it's a joke name. I shouldn't mention this but the next thing I'm going to do is change the wording on the speech therapy door to read, "Theech Sperapy" and see how long it will stay there before someone sees it.
When we wore name tags with photos, an aide and I used to find different pictures and carefully place them over a coworker's photo and see how long it would stay there before being noticed. Animal heads, goofy faces and even pictures of flowers were used. Sometimes we'd get yelled at but most of the time the other therapists would get us back in some way. When I left a computer terminal opened one day, someone sent an email from me to "everyone" and I had to try and explain why. Of course, no one admitted they sent it but I still have my suspicions to this day.
When talking to patients, humor seems to ease their discomfort. If I can get them to focus on other aspects of life and have fun doing it, I can usually get them to do more for me. There are other times when I come into a patient's room smiling and can see the patient is not in the mood for jokes so I get right to business and keep the session strictly professional with little small talk. Usually by the second or third session, the patient lightens up a bit and I can get him laughing.
One question that weighs on my mind when I get patients laughing is, "Am I becoming too familiar with them and losing their ideation about therapy being a serious healthcare profession?" Will they take me seriously when I do patient education about precautions and being safe in a home environment? I think the metrics on length of stay will decide that.