Patient arts programs utilize the arts to assist with coping, stress relief, and communication through creative self expression. Participation at Lombardi increases the likelihood that patients will engage in the arts at home, boosting their quality of life during and after treatment.
Painting, weaving, drawing, beadwork, basketry, quilling, collage, quilting and needlework are some of the activities offered while waiting for appointments, during chemotherapy treatment, or when confined to inpatient areas. Participants engaged in art making report feeling relaxed, productive and happy.
“My spirits are lifted and I am looking forward to the rest of this day.”
Community performances and private therapeutic sessions entertain and help individuals stay connected to life-affirming cultural events. Lombardi musicians include talented members of our own hospital community, the Georgetown student body, summer interns, Lombardi Ensemble Association for Patients (LEAP) and the members of the Washington metropolitan area music community. Thanks to excellent acoustics, music performed in the Atrium can be enjoyed in the Pediatric Oncology clinic, the Lombardi adult clinic, and adjacent administrative areas.
The Lombardi Dance program dates back to 2002, when Jill Roberts Piscatella, Georgetown graduate and member of the Georgetown University Dance Company (GUDC) volunteered her time offering simple stretch movement exercises to people with cancer. Her efforts helped improve flexibility, muscle tone and mood. Jill invited and trained GUDC members to work with patients as well, and with funds from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, designed Lombardi Moves, a dance curriculum that assists with student training and serves as a guide for those who wish to continue the exercises at home. Since the dance program's inception, the Arts and Humanities program has received anonymous gifts to expand to two professional dancers weekly and present dance in healthcare events for the extended community to demonstrate the role dance plays in cancer centers, hospitals and other healthcare settings.
Research conducted at Lombardi supports decades of studies that indicate writing about thoughts and feelings may contribute to good health. Every Tuesday, writing clinician Nancy Morgan invites caregivers, patients, visitors and families to write on a given theme for the week, and are provided a related poem to reflect on. Participants receive a blank journal along with an encouragement to write — for stress relief, reduced symptom awareness, improved sleep quality, and to sort out and make sense of thoughts and feelings related to cancer and other life events. Weekly writing prompts are available on the table outside the arts office in the Lombardi Clinic, room M344C. Lombardi Voices, an anthology of writing by members of the Lombardi community, is published annually. Individual writing sessions can be arranged by calling Julia Langley at (202) 444-7228.