BENGALURU: Art and music in hospitals can help patients cope with their conditions better, says Dr Iva Fattorini, chairman, Cleveland Clinic in the United Arab Emirates, who was in the city recently.
“The concept of art as a way to heal is not new, especially in India. I have been working with the General Hospital at Kochi from February this year and have found positive improvements in the health of patients,” she says.
The therapy includes everything from visual arts to performing arts and music. “Hospital administrators don’t take into account the emotions of people who come for treatment. In spaces rarely associated with cheerful images, we start with a curated collection of art on the walls of the waiting room where families wait in anxiety most of the time. When they see the art, the experience relief,” Iva explains.
She adds, “In the USA, we have had live concerts in hospital lobbies. There was this woman who was very ill and was dependent on intravenous drugs, but she was so happy to watch a musical performance in the hospital with her family on New Year’s Eve. She even took out her special necklace and wore it on the occasion. She passed away a few months later and this was the last, most beautiful memory that she had with her family.”
In February 2013, Cleveland Clinic’s Global Arts & Medicine Institute collaborated with Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) to organise a one-day symposium. This February, the first Arts and Medicine programme in Ernakulam General Hospital was launched in collaboration with Artocene.
Founded by Iva, Artocene aims to connect arts with health on a global level. Over a span of six months, more than 34 performances have been held at Ernakulam General Hospital, touching the lives of over 11,000 people.
A primer study has been done to measure the impact of the programme. The data collected and analysed shows a significant positive effect on the mood of the patients. Studies also indicate that cancer patients under palliative care, when exposed to art and music, experience a decrease in anxiety and depression. Caregivers also benefit by this kind of therapy as they have something else to focus on.
Iva believes therapies must be customised to suit specific cases. For instance, patients recovering from a stroke benefit most from music therapy. Cancer patients or those who have gone through organ transplant are treated with art projects. Sick children and their parents love visual art and music therapy, says Iva.