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case management interventions, communication, coping mechanisms, evidence-based guidelines, humanistic care, humor



  1. Craig, Kathy MS, RN, CCM


Purpose/Objectives: Although case managers must project professionalism, a dash of healing humor can accomplish a lot of trust in a little space of time. To show how case managers can incorporate humor into case management (CM), the article explores beneficial humor-based interventions and sources of unhealthy humor. Suspending the garment of good humor are 2 main straps: (1) increasing the theoretical knowledge base about healthcare humor for case managers and (2) encouraging knowledge transfer through appropriate humorous exchanges up and down the care continuum bucket brigade.


Implications for Case Management Practice: With backgrounds in social work, nursing, therapy, and even doctoring, CM practitioners see the soft underbellies of people's lives. From evidence-based research, case managers can garner tips for humor tact and identify ways to incorporate them into CM practice. Recommendations are elaborated to achieve positive outcomes of authentic communication and improving the quality of healthcare experiences. Examples include recognizing boundaries of unfunny and funny, dignifying and humanizing interactions through levity, responding to age groups appropriately, and drawing from client-preference tidbits like inspirational songs and humorous stories. Avoiding negative outcomes is discussed, especially harming with humor. Five common displays of the humor coin's flip side and ethical erosion are presented.


Findings/Conclusions: To aid case managers, caregivers, and clients in fortifying their coping mechanisms, research findings showcase not only the good but also the bad and the ugly such as interventions to avoid. Findings spotlight appropriate uses of humorous antics, bells and whistles signaling low humor and high risk, and simple takeaways case managers can tuck in their satchels. The article's multipronged conclusion is that respectful humor used judiciously can buoy clients' spirits, bring spoonfuls of levity to a sea of seriousness, show humility that softens the stiff authoritarian semblance of control, and increase clients' confidence that their proverbial exposed underbellies are in safe hands. Pile in the little red research vehicle with the author on this purposeful journey of jocularity. As the slogan goes, many true things are said in jest. Hitch up Your Humor Suspenders is one of them.