Getting Creative with Care

Getting Creative with Care

Like many, Alex had a passion for art and creative expression as a child. Everything changed when the chronic and debilitating pain set in.

It was at the Alberta Children’s Hospital where Alex would find the help — and artistic renewal — her spirit needed.

Alex was referred to the Vi Riddell Children’s Pain and Rehabilitation Centre and enrolled in the Intensive Pain and Rehabilitation Program (IPRP) where she discovered the Therapeutic Arts programs that are generously supported by this community.

Specialized programs of art, horticultural and music therapy supply distraction and fun for kids staying in the hospital, and are designed to encourage physical, mental, spiritual and emotional healing.

While specialists can deliver art projects to patient rooms, there is also an art studio in the hospital for group programs. Art therapy sessions take place virtually, as well as through livestreaming sessions where kids can log on and create with their peers.

Art therapy is a component of IPRP, which is designed to help kids like Alex understand and manage debilitating chronic pain.

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Patient and Family-Centred Care

In addition to providing the best treatments possible for injuries and illnesses, specialists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital also work hard to care for kids’ spirits.


“It was really good for me,” says Alex, 17. “As a younger kid I loved creating art, and over the years I dropped that passion. It was mainly because of the confidence I had in myself, just because of my mental health and my physical health. But once I got into the art room, it didn’t have to be perfect. I didn’t have to be perfect. And it was very therapeutic for me just to know I could get back doing the things I love without having to feel that pressure from others or myself.”

Last year, thanks to donors like you, art therapists provided individual art therapy interventions on all inpatient units, as well as Rotary Flames House, the Vi Riddell Pain and Rehabilitation Program and outpatient referrals. Virtual services like Zoom have also enhanced access, allowing specialists to connect with more children and their families, wherever they are.

Thanks to community support, Therapeutic Art programs are now being offered to kids and teens at The Summit: Marian & Jim Sinneave Centre for Youth Resilience, which opened March 2023.

You can read more about how your support of Patient and Family Centred Care changes lives every day at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in our report to the community.

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