Art provides positive therapy for hospital patients

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Art provides positive therapy for hospital patients

The relaxing benefits of art are now being enjoyed by patients at Calvary St John’s Hospital, in South Hobart, thanks to the introduction of an art cart.

The cart contains a range of adult colouring books, pencils and pens, notebooks, DVDs, letter writing paper and cards, crossword books and inspirational quotes, and has proven popular in all wards of the hospital.

Patricia Woodham, who recently spent 12 days receiving treatment at the hospital, said the trolley bought out an artistic side of her she hadn’t known existed.

It also provided great relaxation benefits during a long period of treatment.

“You wouldn’t think so, but the colouring in was definitely relaxing,” Mrs Woodham said.

Colouring in was also easier to tolerate than long stints of television viewing and could be conveniently picked up or put down at any time.

It was something Mrs Woodham also hoped to continue to enjoy with her great granddaughter, once she returned home.

Calvary St John’s Hospital Gibson Unit Social Worker Anita Oakley, said the art cart had proved popular amongst day and long-term patients, especially those receiving chemotherapy treatment which required many long hours of sitting and during which many patients report a build-up of anxiety.

“If it’s helping patients it makes hospital a little less medically oriented and a little more therapeutic,” she said.
Mrs Oakley said the cart, which also gave patients something to do with their families when they visited, offered a different kind of therapy for patients who often found ‘talk’ therapy wasn’t what they needed.

The art trolley was donated by the Brothers of St Lazarus, and stocked thanks to the hard work of ex-patients including  Katrina Marino,  staff and their families, and local businesses including Artery and Dymocks.

Regular donations are now being sought to keep the art cart stocked.

Notebooks, pens, adult colouring books with perforated pages that patients can tear out, pencils, cards and writing paper are all needed.

Mrs Oakley also hopes to make the trolley a little more ‘bloke friendly’ with the inclusion of small model sets.

“We are just starting to see the potential of this and eventually we would like to see an art trolley on every ward,” she said.

“We thought a few arty people might like it, but there are grandmas in their 90s at all hours of the day, coming to get pencils and supplies.”

“We are just finding out what people are interested in and what is being used and we just need continual funds to supply it.”

To donate or for more information email anita  or call 62203705.