Owensboro Health believes art is good medicine.
In late April, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital started a program that brings art projects to patients’ bedsides two days a week. The “Art Cart” has been so successful it was duplicated for the health system’s Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, which encourages patients to draw, paint, color or write in journals daily while they receive treatments.
OH’s Arts at the Beside Team came up with the idea of tricking out a medical supply cart with mini watercolor sets, easels and canvasses; large and small adult coloring books; and journals and pens, to name a few items. For long-stay patients, there’s even a miniature watering can with a sunflower seed planted inside so patients can watch a flower grow during their stay.
Owensboro Health Foundation and the OH Volunteer Auxiliary funded the Art Cart.
The Art Cart is new to OHRH, but it is not the first time it’s ever been done at a hospital. For example, OHRH’s cart is modeled after a program at University of Kentucky HealthCare.
Since late April, OHRH’s Art Cart has served 927 patients.
“Arts have been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and decrease the need for pain medication,” said Shannon Parham, OH director of patient experience. “And it’s a nice distraction to patients while they are here.”
Also, participating in art activities have been shown to improve memory, reasoning and resilience in the elderly, according to a Harvard Health Publishing article titled “The healing power of art.”
For several years now, the combination of art and healing has been a focus area for OH. The hospital’s walls are decorated with original artwork, and musicians regularly perform in the lobby. Patients have access to an arts channel in their rooms.
Deb Schrooten, an OHRH volunteer, rolls the Art Cart around to patients’ rooms.
“A lot of patients are so grateful…