An art cart makes healing rounds at St. Joseph Medical Center
TOWSON — A day before she had to undergo coronary artery bypass surgery at the University of Maryland’s St. Joseph Medical Center after suffering a heart attack at age 52, Danielle Giles turned her attention to painting a sandy beach.
Watching an instructional video shown in her hospital room in early August, the parishioner at the Church of the Nativity in Timonium carefully applied bright colors to her paper canvas.
“It’s not very pretty or anything,” Giles said with a laugh, “but just touching the paper with the brush is the relaxing part. It’s a good way to be distracted when you have heavy things to do.
Beginning in the summer of 2021, St. Joseph’s Medical Center at the University of Maryland in Towson offered patients like Giles the opportunity to relax and express themselves creatively through outreach ” Heart Cart” from the hospital. Volunteers roll the “Heart Cart” filled with art supplies from room to room and invite patients to create a variety of images using a step-by-step video instruction session.
The program is not art therapy, but a way to help patients cope with life-altering health issues.
“It really gives them a respite from all the stress, anxiety and the unknown that they are facing,” said Victoria Chahanovich, head of the patient experience program at the hospital. “It also allows for another kind of personal connection between staff and patient to kind of deepen that trust and that connection.”
Patients have the option of keeping their art or donating to the program to help inspire other patient artists.
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