Elizabeth Adams

Art Therapy Drawn into the Patient Care Landscape at Markey Cancer Center, Eastern State Hospital

Published: Aug 11, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2014) — More patients are benefiting from the healing effect of creative art therapies as UK HealthCare expands the presence of art and music therapy at the Markey Cancer Center and Eastern State Hospital.


This summer, a music therapist and an art therapist joined the staff at UK HealthCare to serve patients at Eastern State Hospital and the Markey Cancer Center. The two full-time employees split their time leading group art or music therapy sessions for patients with mental illness at Eastern State Hospital and oncology patients at the Markey Cancer Center.


New music therapist Jennifer Peyton earned her master's degree in music therapy from Florida State University. In addition to owning a private practice and teaching music therapy at the University of Louisville, she has served as the medical music therapy coordinator and internship director at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center. Her clinical experience includes working in medical, hospice, rehabilitation and psychiatric settings. Fran Belvin received her master's degree in expressive art therapy from the University of Louisville in 1997. In addition to teaching art therapy at UK, Belvin has worked as an art therapist for Hospice of the Bluegrass and as a substance abuse treatment prevention coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health. Belvin has also worked as an art therapist in private practice.


"I am really excited that UK has decided to increase the expression of arts therapies in their clinical care," Belvin said.


Lori Gooding, director of music therapy at UK HealthCare, said the Markey Cancer Center supported the hiring of additional art therapists for sessions with oncology patients. The integration of art and music therapy as part of the clinical experience represents UK HealthCare's emphasis on caring for the "whole" patient through psychological, emotional and physical services. Gooding said creative arts therapies, which are proven to help patients address anxiety, depression, cognitive disability, chemotherapy and other health issues, add value to the patient's health care experience and increase quality of life.


"Integrative approaches to medical care that include complementary therapies are effective and do help meet the patient's needs," Gooding said. "It speaks to the idea that there is increased collaboration across the university. You see this between two areas that might not normally be working together."


In a recent survey from the UK Center for Advanced Surgery, more than 98 percent of patients said music therapy improved their perception of the health care experience at UK. The same survey showed that 97 percent of parents reported that their child benefited from music therapy. Music therapy is associated with patient satisfaction and reimbursement for medical services. Belvin said not all patients respond to the same types of intervention, but she has seen many patients benefit from art and music therapy.


"Just getting this practice to patients is my biggest goal," Belvin said. "Give people the opportunity to express themselves, and amazing things happen."


In addition, the UK Arts in HealthCare program recently installed the first art exhibit at Eastern State Hospital. The exhibit, which includes professional pieces, is located in the common area of the building.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

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