Published on February 19, 2018

Art from the Heart Creates “Moments of Wow’’

Patients at Genesis Medical Center may have pain, may be anxious about an upcoming procedure or a diagnosis, or may be feeling alone and isolated.

Art from the HeartAll of those emotions can be barriers to healing, according to studies.

Patients at the Genesis hospitals in Davenport now have young partners who are doing what they can reduce those barriers to healing.

Patients may receive a hand-drawn artwork of a dog, which prompts a patient to remember their own beloved pet.

Patients may receive a message of encouragement.

Artworks with hearts on them are popular with the student artists and with patients.

On several inpatient units at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport, hospital patients are receiving artwork created by local elementary school students.  The art is delivered to patients by high school and college aged Genesis volunteers.  This program is part of a new endeavor called “Art from the Heart.” This community collaboration began as an idea to improve both the patient and volunteer experience at Genesis.

Nancy Adams, Education Outreach Facilitator and Allyson Miller, Volunteer Services Coordinator walked away from an all-employee presentation last fall inspired by a speaker from Disney to take action. Modeled after a similar program in Akron, Ohio, two Genesis employees decided that they too could create “Moments of Wow”

Art from the Heart ArtworkThe two pitched the idea to art teachers in the Davenport Community School District and the Genesis Patient Experience Team. Genesis Corporate Communications and marketing developed the logo.  A donation from the Genesis Foundation, made possible by late benefactor JoAnn Waddell, helped fund cardstock and frames.  

Packets of student art came in from the local schools and Genesis volunteers received training. A pilot program began on the West Campus last October in Neuro/Oncology, Infusion and Rehab. The program was so well received it is now on the selected units of the East Campus, as well.

 “The art is impactful in so many ways.  These pictures are big bundles of love that show caring and compassion, which directly relates to Genesis mission,’’ Adams said.

 “The patients love it,’’ Miller said. “Getting a picture of a dog may spark a memory of a pet. The art speaks to them.’’

Another goal of Art from the Heart is to introduce young students and volunteers to healthcare careers.

“The feedback from the student volunteers has been nothing but enthusiasm,’’ Miller explained.  “They love getting to be on the inpatient units interacting with staff and families.  We’re hoping that we are planting seeds of success for the students to start thinking about a career in healthcare.”

Volunteers sort the art (topics include animals/love/nature/Get Well) and frame it. When volunteers come in for their shift, they pick out a supply of each type and put it on the Art from the Heart cart.  Wearing their blue volunteer vests, students lovingly deliver the art to patients that have agreed to the visit.  The back of each piece of art indicates the grade and school from which the art was created.

On Valentine’s Day recently, St. Ambrose University student Payton Janney and Davenport Assumption High School junior, Elli Ivanic, were delivering the framed art to patient rooms.

“It’s one of my favorite things to do,’’ said Elli Ivanic. “We’ve had people who tear up or cry and will say, ‘you will be my only visitor today.’ They tell us we’ve made their day.

“It’s a great project for everyone. The kids who work on the art are not only creating something, they are learning about random acts of kindness. As volunteers, we get to participate in a project that makes everyone feel good.’’

Janney said, “I want to pursue a health care career so this is a great opportunity to be in a hospital setting.’’

Art from the Heart is a community collaboration that resonates in caring.

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