(Middletown, NY) Orange Regional Medical Center launched a new program to promote healing through arts activities. The Art Cart, a mobile activity center, was designed as a creative resource to bring recreational enrichment to patients at their bedside. Research has shown that active participation in arts activities reduces the stress and anxiety often associated with healthcare settings and helps people of all ages improve their health and emotional well-being.
Collaboratively developed between the hospital’s Art Program, Child Life Program and Volunteer Services, the Art Cart is operated by trained volunteers. Many of the Art Cart’s volunteers have a background in child life practice, as professional artists or as art teachers and they bring different creative skills to the program. The Art Cart offers many types of activities, such as paper crafts, painting, sculpture, jewelry making and collage. It was designed so that projects are accessible for all ages and skill levels. Patients can bring their artwork home as a positive memento of their stay in the hospital and this possibly inspires them to continue to create art after their visit.
“For children in the hospital, verbally expressing their thoughts and feelings can be challenging. If it’s a patient’s first time staying in the hospital, it can be extremely intimidating. Art is an excellent outlet, a great distraction that can turn into a therapeutic process. Colors, shapes, lines and images speak to them in ways that words cannot,” said Orange Regional’s Child Life Specialist, Michelle Ferguson. “When we take the Art Cart around, we are offering an alternative way for our patients to heal.”
The Art Cart Program was piloted on the Pediatric unit and received positive feedback from patients and their families. “During my daughter’s stay at Orange Regional, we had the most enjoyable visit from [the Art Cart volunteers]. They brought joy to a stressful time,” said one parent in an email to the hospital. Siblings and family members are also invited to participate with art cart activities.
For additional information about the Art Program, visit www.ormc.org/art. For information about the Child Life Program, contact Michelle Ferguson, Child Life Specialist, at (845) 333-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Orange Regional, contact Laura Hodges, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources Department at (845) 333-0218 or email@example.com.
Orange Regional Medical Center is a member of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System.