Supporting Our Patients: The Art of Patient-Centered Care

Creative Art Therapy

Creative arts therapies at Centers for Dialysis Care are focused on the process of creating art and making music, which patients are offered to participate in at no cost while receiving treatment. This program has been a staple of Centers for Dialysis Cares patient-centered care for the last quarter century.

Art Therapy at Centers for Dialysis Care

Art therapy began at Centers for Dialysis Care in 1991, when Maryann Farago, an intern working on her master’s degree in Art Therapy, implemented the practice with hemodialysis patients. Then CEO, Diane Wish, quickly recognized art therapy’s value in enhancing patients’ quality of life and treatment satisfaction. The program had unwavering support from Centers for Dialysis Cares leadership and made major strides in helping patients and their caregivers positively cope with dialysis treatment.

Patient Impact

Dawn Knez, an art therapist at Centers for Dialysis Care, has been working with patients for 25 years. Over time, she has witnessed a positive impact on both the patient and their caregivers, watching their creations inspire one another during the dialysis process.

“I enjoy helping people and interacting with patients and their loved ones,” shared Knez. Knez’s mission goes beyond patient care, providing an environment where patients and caregivers can creatively express themselves and find inspiration through one another and this creative coping mechanism.

“Seeing the ‘possible’ and the artists’ enthusiasm is truly motivating,” she stated. “The development of artistic skills allows for self-expression and affords choice –there is a real emphasis on abilities instead of limitations in art therapy.”

Many patients face limitations and restrictions when undergoing kidney dialysis, which speaks to the power and freedom that the art therapy program provides.

Zenobia Earls, a retired teacher, has used art therapy sessions to thoughtfully select visual references from which to work, and paints diligently within the confines of her dialysis chair. The impact of Earls’ experience has been paramount.

“Art therapy helps so much because I almost forget I’m getting dialysis,” she shared.

For many patients, receiving dialysis regularly is extremely time-consuming and takes away from activities they’d prefer to be engaged in. Art therapy allows these patients to enjoy their time while involving themselves in a project that has a profound impact on their experiences and inspires others along the way.

Also true for Pat Jackson, the mother of dialysis patient Revon Jackson. Jackson was moved by art created by Earls that was displayed in the lobby at Beachwood. Jackson had prior musical experience but explored visual art therapy. She found that it built her confidence and introduced her to a new creative side.

Center’s for Dialysis Care’s art and music therapists continuously provide patients, family members, and staff with invaluable channels for artistic release. The results of the Art Therapies program are Connections in Creativity, an art show featuring 150+ pieces of stunning patient artwork for all to enjoy.

Art Therapy offers participants the chance to produce something completely unique to them and their experiences, with the hopes that it will foster a positive environment for their dialysis treatment and encourage one another on their journey to better overall health and well-being.

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