Caregiving Through Art

Rani Garner, Chandeliers, oil on canvas.

Community Hospice Center for Caring curates a permanent collection

Community Hospice & Palliative Care is pleased to present art on view in the public spaces as part of a permanent, curated collection in the new Community Hospice Center for Caring on the Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville-Downtown campus. Alice and T. O’Neal Douglas, who have a longstanding relationship with Baptist Medical Center, provided the naming gift for the center for caring scheduled to open in November. This is the ninth Community Hospice Center for Caring facility.

Community Hospice recognizes the importance of art in this stage of the caregiving process. Unlike other medical care, the focus of hospice care isn’t to cure the underlying disease. The goal is to support the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains. Facing death – whether one’s own or that of a spouse, parent, or other family members – is difficult. Art has been proven to provide a positive distraction and aids in reducing stress, bringing hope and comfort through positive imagery. In addition to physical care, comprehensive hospice care must include psychological, emotional, and spiritual support for both the patient and the family (Hockenberry- Eaton, Barrera, Brown, Bottomley & O’Meili, 2000).

Community Hospice Douglas Center for Caring planners were inspired by the art in public spaces of both Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, each constituting a curated collection.   

Under the leadership of Julie Mason, a former Community Hospice board chair and currently a volunteer in support of Community Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation’s capital campaign for the new center for caring, the art selection committee approached the project with the following goals: comforting, soothing, supportive, and positive imagery; a focus on the environment with regional representation reflective of Northeast Florida; clarity of imagery as vision impairment is common for hospice patients; and reflective, so a viewer may see something different each time and/or cause viewers to ponder, think, and reflect.

Aisling Millar McDonald, Transcendence, ceramic.

Hospitals are inherently stressful for patients and families, particularly for those facing end-of-life care decisions, and it is believed by healthcare professionals that art in the environment has positive effects. 

“We feel that art for a hospice has some singular parameters – for example, we didn’t want anything that reflected beginnings or endings, such as sunsets or sunrises.  We looked for works that could provide a positive distraction – art that could be looked at over and over,” says Mason of the selection process.

Submissions from seventy-nine artists from the Southeast were carefully considered by the committee consisting of Nancy Felton, Susan Gallo, Susan Greene, Joan Haskell, Melanie Husk, Holly Keris, Julie Mason, Suzanne Taylor, and Carole Varney, together with Amy Davis, vice president of philanthropy at Community Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation, and art consultant Leigh Fogle of Fogle Fine Art.

“It was very hard to choose only eighteen out of the eight-hundred plus submissions because there were so many absolutely gorgeous works, but we felt strongly that what goes into this space must contribute positively to the hearts and psyches of our patients and their families. We didn’t choose art for art’s sake – we chose it for good mental health,” Mason adds.

“For the Community Hospice Douglas Center for Caring, it really felt like the individual works were waiting to be placed together, for this collection, in this space. These are beautiful works individually, but together the diversity of mediums, styles, and subject matters weave a positive and powerful story,” says Fogel.

Works by Thony Aiuppy, Maribel Angel, Linda Broadfoot, Louise Freshman Brown, John Bunker, Manila Clough, Eileen Corse, Keith Doles, David Engdahl, Sarah Crooks Flair, Rani Garner, Erin Gregory, Thomas Hager, Aisling Millar McDonald, Leigh Murphy, Alma Ramirez, Joe Segal, and Kathy Stark are included in the collection which features ceramics, collage, mosaic, sculptures and paintings.

Read MoreBy Janet Reagor

Author: Arbus

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