Creative Arts Program, BC Children's Hospital

The Creative Arts Program at BC Children's Hospital was first introduced in January 2013, providing service to children, youth and their siblings, 2-3 times a week. The program is facilitated by a child life specialist. The program offers one-to-one experiences for patients who have extended or repeated hospital stays, and an expressive arts group for youth in the teen lounge. The child life specialist collaborates with a music therapist to provide a variety of opportunities for self-expression for youth ages 12 and up.  Painting, sculpting, drawing, photography and art using recycled and hospital related materials are some examples of mediums we have used. The program operates on a referral basis from the child life department as well as other disciplines such as nursing and psychology. The child life specialist reviews the referrals, assesses the needs of the patients, and coordinates appropriate creative arts activities. 

To kick off the program, we hosted a creative arts event with a local artist who brought easels, paints, and canvasses. With the materials and the assistance of an artist, patients created amazing works of art. A second exciting initiative was "A Day in the Life.... at BC Children's Hospital",  a photography project which engaged patients in taking photos of their day to day experience at the hospital which were then mounted and exhibited. Our future goal is to continue to promote both group and one-to-one activities to provide a broader range of mediums and experiences for our patients. Purpose: Being in the hospital can be a stressful, sometimes scary and a difficult experience for anyone. Research suggests that for children and youth, negative hospital experiences can have significant and long term emotional effects. The role of the child life department is to promote coping, expression and normalization for hospitalized children, youth and their families. The use of creative arts in pediatric health care, is one way to help achieve these goals and minimize the stress and anxiety related to health care experiences. It provides opportunities for self-expression as well as control, choices and distraction from pain and discomfort.  Participants: Participants range in age from school age children to youth and have varying medical conditions.  Outcomes: The Creative Arts Program has been well-received by patients and families who often state that the program makes a difference in their day to day coping.

Time: January 2013 - Ongoing
Location: Vancouver
Art Modalities: Music Therapy, Crafts, Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture,

Contact:
BC Children's Hospital
Catia Stuart, Child Life Department
Email: cstuart@cw.bc.ca | Phone: 604-875-2345 ext 7686