Rebecca Fransham, a medical social worker in the Outpatient Treatment Center at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, believes that art and music in the health care environment can have an amazing impact on patients, their families and hospital employees. And since joining the hospital four years ago, Fransham has been helping to ensure the hospital’s own Arts in Health Care program flourishes and grows.
It was shortly after she joined the hospital that Fransham, along with colleague and fellow Arts in Health Care Committee member, Karen Murphy, brought the Surviving to Thriving workshop to Newport. Surviving to Thriving is a free six-week series of classes helping cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers explore and redefine their relationships and themselves through creativity. Each session features a different artist and art project, loosely based on a metaphor that reflects the cancer journey.
According to Fransham, “The workshop is such a powerful and therapeutic experience for participants. They have the opportunity to create art based on what they are feeling. Art is such a wonderful outlet and release for them, and it is so amazing what they create.”
In Fransham’s own unit, the Outpatient Treatment Center, patients are treated to the healing sounds of music and a variety of art projects including beadwork, stamp-making, drawing and card-making, to name a few.
“It is really incredible to watch firsthand as our patients work with the artists. Arts in Health Care creates such a calmer environment within the hospital, and I am so blessed to be a part of the amazing group that is committed to its success,” said Fransham. “The program really creates a nice, calming diversion and helps our patients get their minds off of treatment, and is also a unique way for them to express how they are feeling. I really love being a part of it!”