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Quote from a Volunteer “As soon as I let the patient lead, determine what to create, he found it enjoyable. It changed his self-perception of ‘not being an artist’. This program benefits patients, me as a person, and makes me feel more confident as a volunteer.”. Arts @ the Bedside

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Quote from a Volunteer

“As soon as I let the patient lead, determine what to create, he found it enjoyable. It changed his self-perception of ‘not being an artist’. This program benefits patients, me as a person, and makes me feel more confident as a volunteer.”

Arts @ the Bedside

Dayna D. Wood, Ed.S., NCC, LMHC

ACE Project – Cohort #3

Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Care, NY, NY


A viable option that addresses the heightened focus in healthcare to curb costs while improving quality of care for patients and families is to increase the utilization of volunteers. Most hospitals and hospices already have a pool of volunteers eager to share their time and talents with patients, families and staff. Arts in Healthcare is a growing field that is “dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience by connecting people with the power of the arts at key moments in their lives” (Society for Arts in Healthcare, 2010). Evidence shows that the act of creating can be psychologically healing, even as the body weakens (Rollins & Riccio, 2003). Volunteers have the time and ability to bring unique artistic experiences to patients, where patients are - at the bedside. In response, Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Care developed a volunteer initiative that trains hospice volunteers to incorporate the arts during visits to patients’ homes.

Literature cited

Society for the Arts in Healthcare.

(2010,January). Arts in Healthcare. Retrieved from

Rollins, J. & Riccio, L. L. (2003). Art is the

heART. Washington, DC: WVSA arts


  • Methods
  • Monthly Volunteer Trainings (facilitated by professional artists)
    • Visual Arts –Eliette Markbein, M.S.,M.A.,CDAT
    • Life as Art – Nicolas Dumit Estevez
    • Making Your Own Instruments – Mary Ann Ubaldo & Korie Roe, MA, CCLS, CT
    • Music – Candace Crawford, NMT, MT-BC
    • Art Process Group – Janet King, MAET
    • Creative Writing – Peter Moore, MFA
    • Photography – Kei Okada MDiv., BCC & Elizabeth Buczel
    • Clowning – Evelyn Tuths, LMSW
    • Intermodal/Expressive arts – Erin Balvanz, LMSW & Dayna Wood Ed.S., NCC, LMHC
  • Staff Involvement
    • Staff taught 6 trainings: introduction, music, art process group, photography, clowning & intermodal/expressive arts
    • 28 social workers attended presentation of program.
  • Tracking Methods
    • Excel database: Record volunteers trained, number & type of trainings, # served & modalities incorporated
    • Standardized appraisal forms: *Evaluation plan, Logic model, Standardized session report form, Art/photo release form, “Appreciative Inquiry” to solicit volunteer feedback.


As of September 2010, 28 volunteers and 35 staff have participated in Arts @ the Bedside trainings. Training opportunities include visual arts, performing arts, music, creative writing, photography, clowning and intermodal exercises. Recorded data has been received for 16 patient art sessions.

Participants in Arts @ the Bedside


Arts @ the Bedside thanks Janeen Thompson, MPA, MT-BC, Volunteer Manger, for her time, commitment, and enthusiasm. Thanks to the many artists and staff for their involvement, *Judy Rollins, PhD who provided her expertise as part of a Consulting Grant from the Society for Arts in Healthcare, and Liquitex Artist Materials for a gift-in-kind donation of acrylic paint worth over $700.


1) Train existing hospice volunteers with arts knowledge, or interest, to safely and confidently incorporate the arts during patient visits.

2) Educate staff about the benefits of arts in healthcare.

3) Track patients’ sense of well-being and patient and family communication and interaction during art sessions.

4) Learn how participation in the Arts @ the Bedside program impacted the artists/volunteers.

Figure 3. Graph depicting number and type of participants in the Arts @ the Bedside program.


Arts @ the Bedside is positioned to offer an increasing number of arts sessions to a larger percentage of patients. Data will continue to be collected on numbers served, session reports submitted, art produced, and feedback from volunteers. Arts @ the Bedside aims to serve hospice patients and families by offering alternative means of expression, and the arts in healthcare field by providing informative data.

  • Volunteer Trainings
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Creative Writing
  • Photography
  • Clowning
  • (b) Staff Education
  • Program presented at social work staff meeting
  • 7 staff members taught at volunteer trainings
  • (c) Tracking
  • Excel database
  • Standardized forms
  • Appreciative Inquiry

For further information

Please contact Dayna Wood at: or

718-787-3155. More information on this and related projects can be obtained at and

Figure 1. Candace Crawford, Music Therapist, trains volunteers how to incorporate music, song and rhythm at the bedside.

Figure 2. The three core components of the Arts @ the Bedside Program.