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…the young guitar player has effectively changed my Tuesday Out-Patient Clinic. When he is playing, the activity and anxiety level is much lower. The children are calmer. It is so much easier… it shortens our examination time!

—Dr Sylvia Kovnats, Director Ambulatory Out-patients, St Boniface General Hospital

This programming is as important as drugs and x-rays

Dr Harvey Max Chochinov, Head, Patient and Family Support Services, CancerCare Manitoba

Picture my moment. Here I am pumping potentially dangerous drugs into a patient and the whole atmosphere is calm. There is peace and tranquility. The musician gets up to leave and the place is entirely quiet. No one wants to speak and break the magic spell. Thank you so much for including us in this wonderful program.

—Chemotherapy Nurse, CancerCare Manitoba

I was playing in the Medical Intensive Care Unit where a patient was snoring loudly—really loud—for the entire hour I played. A week later when I went back, the same patient was still in the intensive care unit. He called me into the room and asked me, “Are you the angel who played last week?” I was shocked because he had been more than unresponsive!

—Kathryn Yee, Harpist with Manitoba Artists in Healthcare in St Boniface MICU

What disturbed her was that her pain was now out of control; and the thought that the remainder of her days would be accompanied by that pain was almost unbearable… after my visit she remarked that during the 2 hours of our visit, she had felt no pain.

—Laurie Block, Poet in Residence, Manitoba Artists in Healthcare, Palliative Care St Boniface

How we need these phrases of music to comfort us—whether they are conveyed by singing or story telling or poetry—rippling phrases of delight that get through difficult mental walls of the hospital—to the grateful ears of patients. We appreciate you so much.

—Ros Friesen, Palliative Care Patient, St Boniface Hospital re Poet Laurie Block and storyteller Mary Louise Chown

I was excited about this project because it provides a valuable link between community and institution. If we make our workplaces more accessible and friendly, we can take the next step in the overall wellbeing we are charged with, at the same time caring for ourselves.

—Frazer Barnett, Manager of Patient Care GH6, Health Sciences Center re Artist in Residence William Noah and the installation of his subsequent artworks on the ward

The music the musicians play in the treatment area is not only soothing; it is more like smoothing…it smoothes the whole atmosphere.

—Patty Findlay, Social Worker, CancerCare Manitoba St Boniface site

The art and its process (cutting, pasting, drawing, and writing) help me realize that the suffering and the joy in life are two aspects of life and that is the way of the world. The art realizes both aspects which helped me accept and embrace life and living with cancer. The session has given me the opportunity to be able to set out on my mental and emotional journey to realize what is meaningful to me as a person, a woman and a survivor.

—Saowalee Coyle, Cancer Patient, CancerCare Manitoba

I was the guy in the middle of the room overcome by emotion with tears streaming when you did that folk song about fishing again. Your wonderful voices and the ambience of the room overcame me. Thank you so much.

—Jerry Farr, Patient, St Boniface General Hospital

If I did not fall ill with the cancer, I would have never met MAH and start living.

I believe it all happens for a reason. I have opened my eyes to love, started to believe in ME and my time with others is very real. I am truly still here because of MAH.

I have a difficult background and was struggling with cancer for the second time around.

—Cherida Olson, Cancer Patient re 8 week Clay Group led by artist Betty Smith

Manitoba Artists in Healthcare should be enjoyed by every hospital and personal care program in the Province of Manitoba. There is nothing more healing and life-giving than the arts in all its myriad forms.

—Patricia Frain, Director of Spiritual Care, Health Sciences Centre

…it is the best drug I have ever taken

—Kelvin Free, Artist, Schizophrenia Patient referring to art

By allowing them (cancer patients) to share their experiences and work through personal issues within the creative process, they are able to get more in touch with their inner feelings and at the same time discover a sense of meaning and direction in their lives. Indeed, after exploring issues surrounding their illness, they have been able to find some positive aspects of living with cancer and have overwhelmingly communicated a positive sense of direction in their lives.

—Diane Lemieux, Artist, Manitoba Artists in Healthcare

…bringing water alive and living to the inside of a hospital, what a gift!

Patient, commenting on The Skin of This Planet installation art exhibition by Mary Louise Chown based on a P.K. Page poem of the same name at St Boniface General Hospital

The provision of art and the use of art, facilitates in the humanizing of the institutional environment. This is a great help for staff in their attempts to individualize care for each patient on an emotional and spiritual level.

—Doug Longstaff, Director Spiritual Care, Seven Oaks General Hospital

Michael’s weekly visits are a highlight for our patients, especially longer term patients. It is a crucial part of their rehabilitation to provide a variety of opportunities for stimulation and socialization and Michael’s visits provide just that. Following his visits, patients are happier, calmer and have nothing but positive comments—often just asking “when is he coming back?”

—Janelle Hapke, Occupational Therapist, Grace Hospital

Music has become therapy for our patients and they wait for Tuesday afternoons as it gives them something to look forward to. During that hour, the music takes them away to a time where they were doing things that bring great memories to them.

—Debbie Cathcart, Rehab, Grace General Hospital

Thank you for this valuable program in our medical extended treatment unit. The patients really look forward to the music—it brightens their whole week. It provides excellent stimulation and also the physical activity of walking to and from the concert is of great benefit to our geriatric clients.

—Pat Haldane-Wilson, Physiotherapist, Grace Hospital

Our patients find the guitarist’s music a bright spot in what can be a very difficult day for them. Michael creates a very relaxing environment for patients and a very pleasant working environment for us.

—Kathy Wolos, RN, for the staff of Grace CancerCare

MAH’s musician has been in our ICU unit many times in the past several months to play guitar for our patients’ and staff enjoyment. I have personally enjoyed the music but have also had numerous patients and families comment about how calming and enjoyable it is to relax and listen. I have also observed some patients who have been able to relax listening to the music and fall asleep. All in all the music has been very therapeutic and enjoyable in what can be a very stressful environment. Thank you.

—Rosalee Masson, RN, Intensive Care Unit, Grace Hospital

Every week the patients ask me when Mike is coming to play, as this is the highlight of their week while here at the hospital. Patients who are cognitively disabled benefit greatly from listening to music from their past, music is one of the last things to be forgotten with Alzheimer’s disease. There have been a few times where I can hardly convince a patient to leave their room and attend activities, but they will always participate when Mike is here. It’s a wonderful time for the patients. For an hour they can go and just sit, relax and not think about why they are in the hospital and when they will be going home. They can just enjoy themselves. Thank you so much for enriching patients’ lives while at the Grace Hospital.

—Marley Froese, Rehab, Occupational Therapy