When Stephanie Colpitts’ mother-in-law became ill and had to be admitted to hospital, her family took great care in selecting and decorating her room with artwork from home to make her feel more comfortable. Despite their best efforts, her mother-in-law spent a great deal of time looking up at a plain white ceiling tile.
Colpitts, who works as a quality improvement coordinator at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, understands there is a link between the healing properties of art and improved patient outcomes. At the Heart Institute, she dedicates each day to developing patient-centered quality improvement projects designed to enhance the experience of patients and their families staying at the hospital.
With her mother-in-law in mind, and with the help of her colleagues at the Heart Institute and its Patient Alumni Association, Colpitts successfully launched the Healing HeARTs ceiling tile project. The initiative called for local artists to paint ceiling tiles above the hospital beds in the Day Unit and Regional Referral Centre with calm, open, nature-based scenes.
The goal was to provide patients with calming and peaceful imagery to help promote healing and provide comfort.
- Stephanie Colpitts, Quality Improvement Coordinator, UOHI
“The goal was to provide patients with calming and peaceful imagery to help promote healing and provide comfort,” explained Colpitts. Along with her colleague Karen Charron, a clinical manager of the Day Unit and Regional Referral Centre, Colpitts made a pitch to local artists on an episode of CBC Radio’s All in a Day with Alan Neal. Colpitts said interest in the project, and submissions from hopeful artists who wanted to participate, took off from there.
“We didn’t know if we would receive five submissions or 50,” laughed Colpitts. “It was thrilling. It was so exciting to see the community’s support for the project. I was overjoyed to see there were so many people willing to donate their time and talents to support the Heart Institute.”
In total, more than 100 artists submitted samples of their artwork, and dozens more sent in messages of support for the project. The submissions were reviewed by a team that included a former patient and the president of the Heart Institute’s Patient Alumni Association. Of the submissions received, 30 artists were awarded a ceiling tile, their artwork selected to go on permanent display.
Recently, all 30 ceiling tiles were unveiled at a vernissage held on September 12 at the Heart Institute. Below is a selection of photos from the event.
Ahead of the vernissage, Patient Alumni President Jean Bilodeau announced plans for a soon-to-be developed plaque to recognize the contribution of the artists.
“The Alumni Association’s mission has always been to provide support and comfort to all Heart Institute patients,” said Bilodeau. “This initiative falls perfectly within our mission now and as we look to the future. Thank you to all the wonderfully talented artists who participated in this project, and whose passion helped invigorate a plain white ceiling with tiles of healing!”
The ceiling tiles will be installed in the Heart Institute’s Day Unit and Regional Referral Centre in the coming weeks. Each bed bay will be adorned with one decorated tile. Following the installation, Colpitts and her team at the Heart Institute plan to conduct surveys to evaluate the impact of the project.
“I’m excited to see the reaction of the patients who first get to experience this new installation,” said Colpitts. “I’ll be going back to patients and staff for their feedback with the hopes of expanding the project to other areas of the hospital in the future.”