A trip to the emergency room can invoke feelings of anxiety and fear. But a unique program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital helps children and families divert these emotions through their involvement in a creative art activity.
Thanks to the longtime support of the Art for Life Foundation and its award-winning Art While You Wait program, young patients waiting for treatment in Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s emergency department— along with their parents and siblings—can fashion rainsticks, memory boxes, collage paintings and more. Art for Life’s Art While You Wait program is a part of Lifespan’s Healing Arts programs.
in 2001 by Anthony Knutson, this program and others at Art for Life
reach more than 18,000 children each year, nationwide. In 2005 the
program was awarded the prestigious Blair L. Sadler Healing Arts
Competition Award from the Society for the Arts in Healthcare. In 2003,
Hasbro Children’s Hospital became the country’s second hospital to offer
the program. In a recent survey, 92 percent of our patients experienced
reduced pain and anxiety after participating. One seven-year-old said,
too busy to feel pain!”
The program has also helped create a less stressful environment for the medical staff. While the children are creating art, staff members can converse privately with the family about the medical issue. And with calmer kids, it is easier to diagnose a medical condition. All patients are encouraged to participate, regardless of physical limitations.
“Art for Life’s Art While You Wait Program has changed the face of our emergency department. The medical staff cannot imagine the department without this exceptional program that provides our patients with creative art activities while they are waiting to be seen by physicians,” says Robert B. Klein, MD, pediatrician-in-chief of Hasbro Children’s Hospital. “Art While You Wait is proof that art can actually help heal.”
“When children of any age enter a hospital, they are defined by illness, and yet when they enter a place where art is created, they are defined only by imagination,” says Knutson. “They are part of a nurturing environment where they can express themselves freely and, in doing so, begin to heal.”
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Hasbro Children's Hospital/
Emily J. Quinn
Michele P. Brannigan