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Art program at Novant Health gives patients emotional support

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – When it comes to hospital patients getting well, sometimes the best medicine isn’t medicine at all.

Novant Health’s Integrative Arts Program is focused on giving patients and even staff a sense of emotional support that is often needed during recovery through various forms of art expression.

“The more you reduce your stress and anxiety, you heal feaster,” said program manager Sharon Nelson.

Adult coloring books represent one aspect of how the program uses art activities to help patients reduce stress.

Another example is what you will see on the ceiling of the Whitaker Rehabilitation Center.

Many of the ceiling tiles are covered in paintings done by former patients to help inspire new patients during their stay.

One tile shows a flower under the words “I’m gonna make it.”

Story telling is also part of the arts initiative.

Volunteers record interviews with patients sharing their life stories.

“If you’re facing diabetes, then all of a sudden everything you thought your life would be like has changed, through this interview process, you can find places where you’ve overcome obstacles to give you strength to face the changes that you now have to face,” Nelson said.

Nelson and her colleagues were recently honored with the 2016 Arts Integrated Workplace Award from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.