Chapter 6 

Types of Places Where the Arts Play an Important Role

By Bruce Darling                              


    The arts are contributing to the quality of life of older people in every kind of setting imaginable—the home, local community centers, museums, theatres, local schools, colleges and universities, churches, libraries, retirement communities, elder day care centers, nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, hospices.  Professional care workers, doctors, nurses, art therapists, artists, and volunteers of various backgrounds are all contributing to this refreshing movement. Funding, whether public funds or private, whether donations or grant resources, is always an important factor in the development and continuity of these programs. The energy and dedication of those directly involved in bringing these programs to older adults though is what makes them a success. Moreover, encouragement for such programs also comes from the participants themselves and from the family members who see for themselves the beneficial results. Below is a sampling of several representative places where the arts are taken seriously. All of these have informative web presences.



Retirement communities

           Since around 1970, all across the United States from east coast to west coast, from the Canadian border to the Gulf, communities for retirees have sprung up in places where the climate in agreeable (Florida and Arizona remain two of the most popular destinations.) and the cost living is relatively low. Older people gathered together for mutual support in order to enjoy their late years with others with whom they shared common life styles. Early on economically priced homes could be purchased in new planned communities in outlying lands that provided an escape from the problem of urban violence. Age restrictions excluding people under 60 or 65 brought them peace and gave them relief from the noise and confusion of the younger generations. Today, the situation is pretty much the same though many of these communities have gates added for greater protection and include many upscale expensive residences. The residents in these communities indicate they are quite satisfied. If they are moving from the  flatness of suburbia perhaps this is understandable. The unnaturalness of such isolated, age-segregated communities appears not to be an issue, the tremendous losses to young and old alike are not a concern. [1]  Contrast this approach with that seen in the Netherlands at, for example, the planned multi-generational community of Kattenbroek (design development began in 1988), located on the outskirts of Amersfoort. For more information and photos, see the Kattenboek Amersfoort web site:

These retirees today are better educated, healthier and wealthier that previous generations. They also remain more active, choosing communities with golf courses, near business parks, in university settings. They now demand a higher quality of life during their sunset years.  They also do not want to have to move again. Life-care or continuous-care retirement communities are increasing in demand. Also retirees now expect wellness centers, recreation activities, quality dining, libraries, educational programs, computer centers. Gulf courses, swimming pools, walking paths are often available. The increasing availability of a range of programs in the arts is part of this trend. These may include trips to concerts, dance and theatre; excursions to art exhibitions and art fairs; regularly scheduled lessons in painting, weaving, ceramics in appropriately furnished studios. Panorama City, located in Lacey, Washington, is one very successful retirement community that represents a forerunner to the current trend of seniors in the northern states staying closer to home after retiring and not migrating to the southern climates.



Continuing Care Retirement Communities


State of Washington

Panorama City

           Veronic Kessler  Activities Director


1751 Circle Lane SE

Lacery, Washington  98503

Tel: 800-4456-0111

Fax: 360-438-5901


“A community away from the rat race of the big city.”

Panorama City has a sense of community that one senses throughout its 120 park-like acres. Located in Lacey, Washington, Panorama City has an array of comfortable single family homes, garden court duplexes, cottages and apartments offering you a choice of a home on the lake or the convenience of apartment living.  Fees cover service and maintenance. The staff numbers over 300.  Furthermore, handy shopping and services are located in the central administration building and medical clinic: a pharmacy, convenience store, beauty salon, full service restaurant, banks, stock brokerages; dentist, physician, physical therapy. Transportation services also available for excursions off campus.

The active lifestyle of the residents means a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities resources in demand. Readily available are walking paths, a pitch and putt golf course, a community garden; fishing, swimming and hiking are right nearby.  Many opportunities to become engaged with the arts are also found right on campus-- there is a carpentry shop, ceramic studio, weaving room, art studio, lapidary shop and a handicraft room. And, of course, there is a library as well. Residents told me that people should move in while still able to take advantage of all these opportunities. Minimum age requirement is sixty-two years.

Panorama City, registered as a non-profit organization, appeals to people because it is a Continuing Care Retirement Community that provides a continuum of housing, support services and healthcare. Any care that may be needed can be matched to the resident’s individual needs. Close at hand are a physician’ s clinic, a dentist office, a 150-bed Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center; furthermore, offering residents additional peace of mind is a program to support those living independently at home as well as a licensed assisted living program.

Always the issue of costs must be considered. There are two major financial obligations, a one-time “security deposit” and a “monthly charge.” The security deposit (refundable in part during the first 67 months) purchases a “lifetime lease,” which varies depending of the age of the resident(s), the size and location. You purchase not a real estate contract but a services program. In other words, Residents purchase a "life lease" contract that gives them peace of mind and assures ongoing support, and time to enjoy themselves. The written contract between resident and Panorama City is intended to last the resident's lifetime. The “monthly charge” is not simply monthly rent but for ongoing expenses based upon the services used. The security deposit ranges from about $62,500 for a studio apartment to $265,00 for a single family home on Chambers Lake; monthly fees likewise vary from approximately $700 to $1425.  Numerous residents told me how much they liked living in Panorama City.  Many qualified people are waiting for openings so they may move in.

The above is discussion from the Panorama City Homepage; see this for more details.        URL: .


Additional discussion of retirement communities and other options for senior living may be found in Chapter IV, “The New and Expanding Landscape of Living Situations for the Elderly.” A list of several exceptional other retirement communities is included below.



Bentley Village (A Classic Residence by Hyatt)

704 Village Circle

Naples, Florida 34110

Tel: 941-597-1121

Fax: 941-597-5349

Web Site:



Looked and felt much like an expensive country club. Expensive-full investment required. One of a group of Hyatt Classic Residences located throughout the United States. Each of these places could be the subject of an individual report.


New Jersey

Medford Leas   CCRC

Route 70                               

Medford, NJ  088055

Tel: 609- 654-3000

Fax: 609-654-7894



The Lewis W. Barton Arboretum



Contact: John E. Siminski, Jr., Director of Horticulture


Medford Leas is a Quaker-related Accredited Continuing Care Retirement Community with a broad range of residential housing options, fees and service packages. Has lovely gardens and landscaping to go along with the Lewis W. Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve.



Oatfield Estates   Elite Care 

           Bill Reed and Lydia Lundberg


4444 SE Oatfield Hill Road

Milwaukie, OR 97267

Tel: 503-653-5656





Termed Extended Family Residences (TM) of Elite Care, living here is presented as an alternative to assisted living.  Oakfield Estates is noted especially for its pioneering introduction of computers into various aspects of management and care.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes, as a traditionally conceived hospital-like facility for the frail elderly, are loosing favor as places for the elderly to go when they can no longer live on their own and their care needs exceed what family can provide.  Medical-like facilities are generally acknowledged as unsuitable as places to live. Hence, we find the increasing variety of choices for elderly housing being demanded, as discussed in Chapter IV.


Yet nursing facilities remain an essential component in the care of the elderly.  They are now undergoing various changes to better meet the demands of this generation of seniors. One such change, for example, is that nursing homes, facilities for elderly who require 24-hour care, are more and more becoming part of continuing care facilities where residents move for the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will not have to move again. Another change we see is a transformation of the nursing home itself from a medically-based hospital-like facility to a more home-like setting for care.

Indeed, a similar transformation is being seen in the hospital itself—the trends toward making the hospital environment more hospitable, more welcoming, less threatening, perhaps even more homelike, more a part of the community.  (Hospitals are discussed below.) It is in this respect that the arts are playing an ever larger role. We see more and more introduction of art works to beautify the interiors and exterior: paintings to hang on walls, sculptures to adorn corridors, tiles adorning open spaces and ceilings, gardens that bring nature indoors. We also see more awareness of the beneficial role that well designed structures and interiors can have on health: layout, space, light, color, materials.  The nursing homes cited below are noted for their inclusion of the arts as a crucial component of elderly care.


Riverdale, New York

The Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale

5901 Palisade Avenue

Riverdale, NY 10471

General Tel: 718-581-1000

           Susan Putterman  Curator


Curator Tel: 718-581-1330

Web Site:


Noted for its accredited full-fledged art museum; also has therapeutic art




 Goodwin House West

 3440 S. Jefferson Street

 Falls Church, VA 22041

 (703) 578-7201

 fax (703) 578-7519

 web site:

Rebecca Perry  Art Therapist



Noted for its art therapy program and for its popular studio arts and crafts, with art studio and woodworking shop.

Comprehensive Facility for the Elderly             

Miami, Florida

Miami Jewish Home & Hospital for the Aged  -- MJHHA  --

           Elain Schumacher   Community Outreach

           Sarah Huther, Director of Therapeutic Programs : Art and Music therapy

5200 Northeast 2nd Avenue

Miami, Florida  33137

Tel: 305- 751-8626  (Public Relations: ext. 2201)

Fax: 305-754-4530


Web Site:


The Miami Jewish Home and Hospital For the Aged at Douglas Gardens is a comprehensive facility for the elderly that includes the following components: Nursing Home, Alzheimer’s, Assisted Living, Independent Living, Rehabilitation, PACE, Hospice, Home Care.  In addition, the Stein Gerontological Institute is dedicated to encouraging independence for the elderly and improving their quality of life through their teaching programs and senior-friendly housing projects.


The setting

Tropical garden setting on beautiful 20-acre campus in sunny Miami features an aviary, old fashioned ice cream parlor, beauty/barber shop, residents marketplace and bank, gift shop and more. The architectural design of many of the buildings is art deco, hence keeping with Miami’s well known art deco building theme.



The following is a list of the chief components of MJHHA (more details are available on the MJHHA web pages):


Irving Cypen Tower

Independent Living Apartments

Irving Cypen Tower independent living apartments for the elderly

With dining facilities; small pets allowed (pets may also come for a short visit)

Hazel Cypen Tower  

newest facility for assisted living      

A licensed and accredited assisted living facility featuring luxurious,

fully furnished apartments;  beauty parlor

Full service dining, activities and exercise rooms, pool, kitchen, large room for worship, watching videos, etc.

Alzheimer's inpatient unit and outpatient programs/day care

Guest suites available for family, friends and visitors

The Stein Gerontological Institute


Research, education and training

Senior housing and consultation for the development of

elderly-friendly environments

           a focus on universal design for elderly living

Toppel Rehabilitation Center

           Long-Term Rehabilitation

           Short-Term Rehabilitation

Chronic Pain Management/Biofeedback

                      Guest cottages for family & friends

           Subacute Care

Skilled Nursing facility

This is the facility indicated by the term “Hospital” in the name

462 nursing home residents

Douglas Gardens Hospice


Alzheimer's & Related Dementia Services

Inpatient Care:

Alzheimer's Special Care Unit

Outpatient Care:

                      Alzheimer’s Day Care

                      Caregiver Support Groups

                      In-Home Respite Program

                          The Douglas Gardens Gumenick Alzheimer's Respite Program

Douglas Gardens Home Care

           Medical and Non-Medical Home Care Services

PACE  Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly


Florida PACE Centers (FPC) provide personalized programs of health and

supportive services for seniors 55 years of age and older who reside in the FPC

Service Area and who want to stay independent and live at home as long as

possible. PACE provides an innovative alternative to nursing home placement.


Role of the Arts

           The arts play a central role at MJHHA.  First time visitors notice this immediately in the attractive and colorful art deco style of the building exteriors and the artfully maintained gardens, with their attractive plantings and meandering strolling paths, with strategically placed benches for resting, attractive sculptures, fountains, bird cages. The interiors, too, are tastefully designed. A retro designed Ice Cream Parlor is one favorite gathering place for both residents and visitors.  Walking around Douglas Gardens one can find exhibits of resident art adorning the interiors of various buildings. Also, the first thing one encounters upon entering the Hazel Cypen Tower assisted living facility is a Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair that is very much in keeping with the art deco theme. Paintings, sculptures, stained glass also help to brighten up the corridors and rooms.


Arts programs intended for residents are overseen by the Therapeutic Recreation Department, which offers a minimum of 24 daily activities seven days a week to improve resident health and maintain a high quality of life.  Passive art activities include movies, a Jewish music hour, special entertainment;  participatory arts and crafts include painting, ceramics, collage,  flower arranging, drama group, sing- a-longs, among others . Some crafts are sold for fund raising.  For those who do not or can not participate in these programs, the room visitation program brings conversation and activities to the residents. 





Although hospitals are not facilities for elderly living, many nursing homes were planned and constructed on the medical model. Indeed, the term “hospital” in the name Miami Jewish Home & Hospital for the Aged refers to the skilled nursing facility. Moreover, this “hospital model” is now being re-examined as elderly facilities are becoming more home-like. The design of hospitals, too, is taking into account the beneficial health aspects of more comfortable setting for healthcare. Increasingly an understanding is being reached that the hospital should not be an isolated healthcare setting but should be an attractive healing environment with social and cultural ties to the community. Art is being brought into hospitals to decorate the public spaces, to brighten up the staff, to engage and bring enjoyment to patients and their family and friends. So, too, are gardens. The hospital is becoming the site for community events, such as concerts and dramas open to the public. Rotating art exhibitions are another draw. Moreover, thought is being given to how the architecture and design of the hospital itself can contribute to healing.


To stretch the point somewhat, we might say that the positive role that art can play in creating nurturing and healing hospital environments is today no longer questioned. The arts help people feel better; the arts help to improve the quality of life of patients, staff, family and friends.  Of course, some recognized this long ago.  Florence Nightingale, in Notes on Nursing, stated:


“The effect in sickness of beautiful objects, and especially of brilliancy of colour is hardly at all appreciated. …

I have seen in fevers (and felt, when I was a fever patient myself) the most acute suffering produced from the patient not being able to see out of window and the knots in the wood being the only view. I shall never forget the rapture of fever patients over a bunch of bright coloured flowers. …. 

People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too. Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by colour and light, we do know this, they can have an actual physical effect.

Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery.”[2] 


Today, hospitals throughout the world are beginning to recognize the beneficial role the arts can play in creating healing healing environments and healthful situations for patients.  The elderly inevitably do have to spend some time in hospitals and hence we introduce how the role of the arts helps to create a healing environment in one model example, The Shands Hosptial associated with the University of Florida in Gainsville.


University of Florida in Gainsville

College of Medicine

Shands Cancer Center and Department of Art

Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM)

Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education (CAHRE)


Sands at the University of Florida

                   Shands Children's Hospital at the University of Florida



Shands at the University of Florida, the primary teaching hospital for the UF College of Medicine, is a 576-bed private, not-for-profit hospital where 500 physicians representing 110 medical specialties work with a other health care professionals. The hospital’s prioritiest are patient care, education and research. I would like to introduce two model art programs of The Shands Hospital: Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM) and the Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education (CAHRE)



Arts in Medicine  AIM                                                                              web site:



The Arts in Medicine (AIM) program at Shands at the University of Florida is dedicated to exploring the relationship between the art of creativity and the art of healing.


AIM is committed to using the visual arts as a way of transforming the medical environment from a sterile, depersonalized setting to one of color and inspiration.


Since 1990, AIM has brought works of art into the hospital and clinics on a permanent and rotating basis to enhance corridors, waiting and treatment areas for patients and families.


Our goal is to unite health care givers, artists, patients, their families, students and the whole community in a common journey to bring the creative arts into the mainstream of restoring our bodily, mental and spiritual health

                                quoted from the AIM web page


The AIM program was founded by Dr. John Graham-Pole, director of the bone marrow transplant unit, and Mary Rockwood Lane, a nurse and artist, in 1991. This program goes beyond merely hanging paintings on the walls and playing music in the lobby. Here artists-in-residence along with a large number of volunteers work with patients, sometimes at bedside. teaching them how to paint, sculpt, dance, play music, dance, act.


           Aim projects are carried on throughout the hospital are basically of two types, those that brighten up the environment and those that bring art activities to the patients as well as staff. The 60-foot Healing Wall mosaic of about 1000 tiles painted by patients and patients' families in the Main Hospital Lobby, the Our Town renovation project (also the painted tiles adorning the ceilings) in the Children’s Hospital, the Friendly Forest mural in the Shands Pediatric Speciality Clinic, the live music performed in the Atrium, the dramatic skits performance in the halls of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, plus all the art making that takes place between artist and patient at the bedside—these are just some of the things that have made Shands Hospital into a inspirational model for humane and caring medical treatment. Adding to this is the art collection  comprised of high quality original works for display throughout the hospital. A Japanese Garden at the Cancer Center provides a restful, soothing natural environment for patients, family, staff.


The arts here are for patients and staff to enjoy, to participate in. All are welcome to take part, including doctors, nurses, members of the community, relatives of patients. Act in a play, contribute to an exhibition, read some poetry, sing in a chorus, join in a workshop. Over one hundred events go on each month. The artist-in-residence program includes artists specializing in dance, music, the visual arts, storytelling, all ready to lend a hand if necessary. The goal is to change the culture of the hospital environment by brightening the surroundings, by bringing spontaneity and joy. This review is but a small selection of the arts being offered in AIM. See the Shands AIM web site for more information.  url:



Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education (CAHRE)

                      College of Fine Arts at the University of Florida

                      Web site: 


CAHRE was founded in 1999, growing out a Dance in Medicine course first offered at the University of Florida in 1996.  Today, CAHRE has three co-directors:

Dr. John Graham-Pole, College of Medicine

Author of the book Illness and the Art of Creative Self Expression, published

by New  Harbinger, 2000.

Ms. Sonke-Henderson, danced professionally with the Isadora Duncan

Repertory Dance Company in New York City and has been an Artist-in-

Residence in the Shands Arts in Medicine program for over eight years;

Rusti Brandman, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance, Department of

Theatre and Dance, College of Fine Arts, the University of Florida; in 1996,

she became an artist in residence for the Shands Hospital Arts in Medicine

program; she is also a dancer and is involved with curriculum development and



The Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education, based in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Florida, was founded to further develop the use of the arts in health and healing. This is facilitated by being based in a university with both a College of Fine Arts, a College of Medicine and the region’s leading comprehensive hospital. CAHRE, of course, has close ties with the Shands AIM program.

The mission of the Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education has three components: Research, Education, Community Outreach.


On the effects of the arts on healing and health with the view of developing

programs, research measurement tools, curriculum and outreach projects.

Programs funded through the University of Florida’s Office of Research and

Graduate Programs Research Opportunity Fund and other sources.


To develop curricula and programs in the arts for all levels: K-12, college,

professional development.  Dance in Medicine was developed for the

Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Florida.

Community Projects

To provide a variety of healing and educational programs available to local,

national, and world communities. “Days of Renewal” is an ongoing

program to offer healthcare workers a full day of art and healthful relaxation.


For more information, see the CAHRE web site:




Shands at the University of Florida in Gainsville is but one of any number of U.S. hospitals that could be cited for the use of the arts in healthcare. As in the case of “nursing homes,” the introduction of the arts into hospital environments continues to gather steam throughout the world. NEA Report Calling for Greater Involvement of the Arts in Health Care, issued 1 July 2003, lists over a dozen other exemplary hospital programs. One of the oldest such programs is Duke University Medical School/hospital arts and cultural program, established by Janice Palmer in 1978.


The Duke University Medical Systems Cultural services Program

Cultural Services

Duke University Medical Center 3017

Durham, Durham, North Carolina  27710

Phone: 919-684-2007




The Duke University Medical School/hospital arts and cultural program is one of the oldest and served as a model for many programs developed since then. Janice Palmer has introduced the art programs developed here through her numerous lecture appearances and writings. She was instrumental also in the establishment of the Society for Arts in Healthcare Japan in 2001, based on the precedent of the American-based Society for Arts in Healthcare, which she helped to found. Janice Palmer has written extensively about her work with the arts at Duke University Medical School/hospitalstarting back in 1978. See Janice Palmer, “An Introduction to the Arts-for-Health Movement or How the Arts Sneaked in on the Medical Model.” Available on line at Community Arts Network, Reading Room: url:


The following two hospitals are both known for their Gardening and Horticultural Therapy programs. Professor Midori Yasukawa discusses the art of horticulture and therapy in a later chapter.


Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center


Legacy Rehabilitation Services

           Teresia Hazen Med, HTR, QMHP

Registered Horticultural Therapist

1015 N.W. 22nd Avenue

Portland Oregon  97210

Tel: 503-413-6507

Fax: 503-413-8103

Horticulural Therapy URL:


The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine

           Nancy Chambers, Horticultural Therapist

400 East 34th St., New York, NY 10016

Web Site: URL:




Hospice is a special concept of palliative care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. Note that hospice is not a place; it is a philosophy of care.

A large per cent of hospice care is provided in the patient’s home, where he or she feels most comfortable. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity. Palliative cares takes a holistic approach to “total pain”—the recognition that pain is not only physical but also has emotional, psychological and social aspects as well. 

A team of specially trained professionals in palliative care strive to control a patient’s physical pain while caring for the patient and his immediate family’s emotional needs as well.  Bereavement counseling services are a part of hospice. The involvement of the patient and his/her family in the responsibility for the circumstances of one’s death has been viewed as a human rights movement for at least twenty years. Hence, the centrality of the patient and his family in hospice care means an ever increasing concern with quality of life issues.  The hospice movement continues to grow in response to such human needs.

In 1967, Dr. Cicely Saunders, a British physician began the modern hospice movement by establishing St. Christopher's Hospice near London.  Medicine was concerned with curing illness but tended to neglect the physical and emotional pain of dying patients. Saunders listened to dying patients and began the work of hospice to meet their needs. Taking a hint from Florence Nightengale, Sauders believed beauty had a positive effect on patients. Right from the outset, works of art had an significant role in hospice. Indeed, while looking for paintings to brighten up the hospice, she met the Polish artist Marian Bohusz, whom she married. He became the artist in residence at St. Christopher’s. Sixty of his paintings are still displayed in the hospice.[3]  

St. Christopher’s, as the first hospice, became the model for the majority of other hospices around the world. This explains why the arts and art therapy are so readily accepted as playing an important role in holistic hospice care. One such example is the Connecticut Hospice, to be discussed below.

(For more online information about hospice, see the Hospice Foundation of America  home page:


The Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

100 Double Beach Road

Branford, CT 06405

Telephone: (203) 315-7500


          Web Site:

Arts Program

Contact: Katherine Blossom, Director of Art Program


The Connecticut Hospice introduced hospice care to the United States in 1974, and as the first hospice in America has served as a model for others established all across America.

The Connecticut Hospice I visited was a single, story structure surrounded by green lawn, flower gardens, and trees, the Connecticut Hospice is a most impressive place. Plenty of bright open areas and easy access to the outdoor gardens.  A painting exhibition in the corridor and photos in the atrium, live music with a patient and volunteer musician in one of the public areas, art making at the bedside—all helping to creative a much more alive atmosphere than I had expected. Katherine Blossom, Director of Art Program, spoke of the low turnover of personnel, including those involved with the arts, unlike at most hospices where turn over is much greater. This is a sure indication of a holistic approach to palliative care that extends to the care givers as well. Stress does build up and must be coped with. Ms. Blossom showed me a healing room to help alleviate stress, a small enclosed space with a number of stairs leading up to a skylight. She called it the “Screaming Room.”


The Connecticut Hospice program is distinguished by the coordinated team of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, clergy, artists, volunteers that brings comprehensive palliative care –physical, emotional, spiritual, social–to the dying patient and bereavement support to family and friends.  Hospice care is provided in the home and in an inpatient setting.


Connecticut Hospice and the Arts

As with Cicely Saunders’ St. Christopher's Hospice, emphasis on affirmation and the quality of life means that Connecticut Hospice considers the arts to be an important component of care. But it is more than that. Connecticut Hospice worked with the State to incorporate the hospice art program into the state health care system. This means that state licensing requires that the arts to be considered in the same degree as medicine, food. Moreover, patient assessment takes into account the arts visits that are recorded on patient charts. While the Director of the Arts Program is trained as an art therapist, the approach taken with the arts is art for the sake of art, not the usual art therapy approach. 


The artist on the care team works with patients and families on individual  projects. Each art work that is created represents something important to the dying patient that can be passed on to the next generation to be remembered by. Artists, along with volunteers, also play music, perform skits , oversee art exhibits, and attend to the flowers and plants that one finds throughout the building and outside in the patio gardens. Hospice clearly recognizes the role of nature in creating caring environments. The rooms have large windows to give patients clear views of the surrounding natural landscape; patients also have ready access to the outdoor patio gardens. 

(Parts of the above are based on the Connecticut Hospice home page:


Please note, the Connecticut Hospice now occupies a new home in Homeport Cove still located in Bradford, Connecticut. The hospice moved on Mother s Day 2001. It now shares a building with John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Education, Training and Research, Inc. The first volume of The Connecticut Hospice Newsletter, available in pdf format for downloading from the Hospice web site, introduces the new facility.


One additional comment, because St. Christopher’s became the model for most other hospices, the acceptance of art, music and drama therapy, painting, sculpture, poetry, in the holistic care of patients is understandable. What is not understandable, however, is why the arts are not a more widely recognized component in our other health and care facilities. The walls of nursery school and kindergarten rooms are typically decorated with gay, brightly colored student works; and this is carried on in the pediatric wards of hospitals. Moreover, we have just seen that hospice interiors where people pass the final time of their lives also are enlivened by art. But why do we not see more of this in our clinics, hospitals, senior day care centers, senior residences, nursing homes? The current trend seems to be making some headway towards this very direction. More and more people are beginning to ask the same question. First comes awareness of the problem. Next we must begin to demand the quality of life that accompanies such attention to the arts.



Baily-Boushay House

2720 East Madison

Seattle, Washington 98112

Main Number: (206) 322-5300

Main Fax: (206) 720-2299

Web site:


Bailey-Boushay House is a 35-bed skilled nursing facility and day health program designed specifically for people living with AIDS. One of the first such facilities when it opened in June of 1992. Today, Bailey-Boushay House is a nationally recognized facility offering residential care and day health programs for people living with AIDS, and for those suffering from other life-threatening illnesses. As with other hospices, the arts play an important role in maintaining an optimum Quality of Life for patients. 



[1] Cf. Christopher Alexander, et al  A Pattern Language,  New York: Oxford University Press, 1977, Section 40, “Old People Everywhere,” pp. 215-220.

[2] Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not,, pp. 58-59,  New York: Dover Publications, 1969 (American edition first published in 1860) .

[3] Peter Kaye “Some images of illness,” p. 43;  in Mandy Pratt and Michele J. M. Wood, editors, Art Therapy in Palliative Care: Creative Response. (London: Routledge, 1998).