A healing through art session in progress.
DOHA: Promoting the process of healing through art is the theme of an ongoing initiative to benefit children, long-term patients or those recovering from surgery at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The initiative is led by Hamad General Hospital (HGH) in partnership with UCL Qatar, linked with Qatar Foundation.
“Long-term patients, paediatric patients or simply patients recovering from surgery sometimes have to spend many hours at the hospital with no other pastime or leisure than watching TV or conversing with their friends and family members. With such limited activities, patients are likely to experience boredom and have slow healing progress,” said Gilles Andre Gabel, Assistant Executive Director for Hospitality at HGH. “Engaging our patients in art offers an innovative way to contribute to their healing and recovery progress.”
The innovative approach, which is based on a growing body of research showing the healing powers of art, has been adopted by world-renowned institutions such as the US-based Children’s Memorial Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Centre. Art has been shown to contribute in decreasing stress, lowering blood pressure and even reducing the need for pain medication.
“Safe art is quite beneficial to sick children, who usually don’t have much entertainment in a hospital environment,” said Dr Mohammad Janahi, Chairman of Paediatrics at HMC.
“I appreciate the help of all in making our patients happy but in a safe way, as occasionally they could be harmed by infections especially those with immunosuppression (meaning the body’s normal immune response to infection is lowered).”
Last year, various fun activities for patients were organized such as visits to HMC’s paediatric units by world-famous ‘clown doctor’ Patch Adams, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a ventriloquist, entertaining selected ambulatory patients to the Disney on Ice show, and storytelling. Decorating paediatric units with child-friendly designs and colourful, child-safe wall paintings is also part of the initiative.
“Recently children and other patients were entertained by a ventriloquist with a puppet made in the likeness of one of the objects from the Museum of Islamic Art – a 12th to 13th century turquoise-glazed monkey from the permanent collection. With the ventriloquist was another entertainer who showed the children and staff games and tricks. This also included a training session for the staff and volunteers so they can continue to use these games and tricks to entertain the children in the future,” according to Antonia Rosati, Outreach Officer at UCL Qatar.