The Fort Wayne Dance Collective has collaborated with Parkview Health to offer the Healing Arts Program. This innovative service integrates literary, movement, music and visual arts into patient care, healthcare facility design and aesthetics, the care of caregivers and the community. A person’s health and well-being isn’t just dependent on the health of the physical body, but also the health of mind and spirit. The Healing Arts program brings professional Artists in Residence to the bedside in many departments throughout both Parkview Regional Medical Center as well as Parkview Randallia and Parkview Behavioral Health.
By: Kristine Agen, Parkview Healing Artist with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective
Another Healing Artist and I started our usual shift at Randalia hospital, ready to make our rounds with our 700 songs and contact information cards. I am a musician and I travel with a movement artist. We never know what to expect on each shift. While walking down the hallway, the phlebotomists caught sight of us and asked if we could assist them. They had an older woman in the Intensive Care Unit. The phlebotomists had enough foresight to know that this patient could use some comfort during her next procedure.
As we got to the room, we noticed that the older woman was a past patient who had truly enjoyed our Healing Arts visit multiple times before. In fact, we had just received a phone call from this patient last week. She had called our office to request we visit her at her new placement at a rehabilitation center.
The patient instantly smiled and waved at us. We could not enter her room due to the fact that four phlebotomists were assisting inside the room with another nurse alongside to provide support. Instead, my co-worker and I stood right outside the door and applied our art forms in the hallway in view of the patient. I wish I could explain the joy found in the patients smile due to the fact that we were there for her.
This was a long procedure. Nothing can ever prepare me for the sights we see and the emotions we ride through on this job. Everyone present was trying to sing and encourage the patient through this long procedure. The patient kept singing between tears.
Then the primary phlebotomists said, “I am sorry, I need to get more samples.” The patient wasn’t sure she could continue enduring this discomfort. But with the encouragement of the optimistic Parkview staff and both the beautiful music and movement, the patient was able to continue.
More attempts, more songs, more tears and more encouragement. The Parkview staff even sang along with us as we performed “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye. We were able to get through all of the patient’s needed testing. I can honestly say that the addition of the Healings Arts team made this challenging and yet needed procedure even possible! I was so happy to be apart of this collaborative approach to healing at Parkview!