Using Art to Support Children Coping with Illness

Guest Blogger, Caroline Robins at Kids & Art

Kids & Art Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides art experiences for families touched by pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, to heal, empower, encourage, and create memorable experiences.

Due to COVID, our weekly hospital programs at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Stanford Children’s Hospital were put on hold in March 2020 as were our monthly destination workshops at creative venues. We took our 10 years of experience and our creative resources to be there for our families when they needed us most by creating virtual art workshops as well as amazing art lessons on youtube, to continue healing through the arts. Life was challenging enough for immunocompromised children before COVID. It is even more important to give them access to our workshops now so they can engage, connect, and create with others.

Check out our video about our COVID Response

As our Kids & Art researcher Dawn Linhardt has shared, research has shown that supportive services and therapies such as Kids & Art have been shown to affect stress as demonstrated through decreases in cortisol levels. These interventions are low cost and based on the research have the potential to decrease rates of readmission due to secondary infections.

Stress-relieving interventions such as art are becoming the standard in cancer care within integrative medicine. Preliminary evaluation of data from a study that includes Kids & Art families indicates that the physical symptoms and isolation associated with cancer treatment has a negative effect on the quality of life. We believe that supporting services like ours have the potential to alleviate stress and address the issues of isolation and ultimately improve the quality of life measurements.

Kids & Art is staying true to our mission to always be there for families wherever they are in their treatment. We are delighted to welcome patient families from other states including Alaska, Maryland, Michigan, and Florida as well as our home state of California. Visit our website for more details and a link to register.

What do our workshops include? Along with guided art projects we also include virtual tours of artists’ studios and galleries and invited guest artists. The workshops provide a space for creativity, fun, and stress relief and they bring a sense of togetherness for all ages in a supportive environment.

We have also started a larger Conversation in Improving the Quality of Care by inviting experts from the Art + Health + Innovation space. We have made all these conversations available for free on our YouTube playlist.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Related Articles

Bringing Play to Chronically Ill Children During a Pandemic 

Supporting Children and Teens During COVID-19

Young girl creates teddy bear to comfort children coping with medical experiences

I’m thrilled to feature an amazing nonprofit that is bringing smiles and comfort to hospitalized children. The Medi Teddy is a washable teddy bear that was designed by Ella, a 13-year-old with a rare illness, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura or “ITP”.

Ella receives IV infusions every few weeks to treat her illness. During her day in the outpatient clinic, it can be long and boring while she watches the IV fluids drip from the bag into her arm. One day she decided to create a teddy bear that covers the IV bag and brings comfort and normalcy to the hospital environment. She wanted other children to also experience this comfort, so she launched Medi Teddy.

Medi Teddy is given to a child and is used to cover their IV bag. If a child is receiving outpatient treatments they can bring it home, machine wash it and bring it back to the clinic for their next visit.

As a child life specialist, I can see the wonderful benefits of giving a Medi Teddy to a pediatric patient. Medical play can be incorporated and empower children to healthily cope.

Click here to make a donation or receive a Meddy Teddy. Be sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram and learn more from their website.

We will be giving away 5 Medi Teddys to one lucky winner.

Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave a comment below.

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and tag a friend.

3. Facebook: Follow @EllasMediTeddy and leave a comment about the giveaway.

4. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy and @Medi_Teddy, tag a friend in the post.

5. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy

Good Luck, the winner will be chosen on 3/14/20.

 

Children’s Pain Captured in Art

Pain Campaign .jpg

Guest Blogger, Standish Foundation for Child & Family Centered Healthcare

Artwork is a powerful therapeutic tool to help children and caregivers express their emotions about their medical experiences. Children often have a difficult time verbalizing feelings associated with pain and the modality of art provides them the opportunity to explore, create and gain mastery.

We are currently working on a project to help medical team members globally have a deeper understanding of pain and the impact that it has on children and families. We provide them with education and training that involves a patient and family-centered care approach. These coping strategies decrease trauma, provide children with a sense of control and have a positive outcome for everyone involved.

We need your help to spread awareness of pediatric pain management, so we are seeking two different types of artwork from kids and caregivers. One is about their perception of pain and the other is about how they feel after a coping strategy was used, such as medical play, comfort position, distraction tool, pharmaceutical relief, bravery reward or something similar.

If you would like to submit an image of artwork from your kids, yourself or from your patients (with consent), please email them to info@SF4C.org.

Thanks so much for all your support!