Therapeutic Arts and Activity Services

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Published on February 17, 2015

Therapeutic Arts and Activity Services

Alice Kinsler is the Manager of Concord Hospital Therapeutic Arts and Activity Services (TAAS). Speaking at Concord Hospital Trust’s “What’s Up Doc?” on-going series of talks spotlighting developments in various medical fields, Ms. Kinsler discussed her program.

Made to Order

It is very unusual to meet someone who is the perfect match for her chosen career. Alice Kinsler is one of those people. Educated as an art therapist, Ms. Kinsler started her career at Concord Hospital in1989 in a part-time position helping medical and surgical inpatients “stay busy”. That was the era of long hospital stays. Today’s inpatient stays are shorter and the patients are sicker. The contemporary mission of Ms. Kinsler and her staff of both volunteers and professionals is to help patients stay connected with themselves, to provide diversions, to inspire interaction with their environment both physical and social. Listening to Alice Kinsler describe her job and the department she created is to hear a woman in love with her work and everything about it! It is not an accident that the department she heads at Concord Hospital won the 2013 Governor’s Arts Award for Cultural Access Leadership.

Low Budget, High Impact

While boasting one of the lowest departmental budgets at Concord Hospital, the Therapeutic Arts and Activity Service’s number of patient contacts – 6,774 in 2014 - is extremely high. This is in part because of the wide range of activities offered, including many by Concord Hospital volunteers, and perhaps even more because of the great popularity of those offerings.

Reiki, Bingo, Art a la Cart, P.U.P.: For instance, over 300 Reiki massages were given in 2014; 2,400 patients and visitors played Live TV Bingo in their rooms for prizes – available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. on Concord Hospital’s internal television station; Art a la Cart – a program providing patients with their choice of a framed work of art to display in their patient room– served 1,700 patients in 2014. The popular P.U.P. program – Pets Uplift People - offered 350 visits by certified therapy dogs to inpatients in several parts of the Hospital.

Live Music: There are several live music programs within the Hospital including bedside therapeutic music conducted by certified music practitioners and interns. Volunteer musicians give live performances to inpatients in their rooms, bringing welcome pleasure and relaxation. Handsome Reverie Harps are available to patients upon request for peaceful relaxation and tranquility.

Creativity Cart: The TAAS staff, art therapy interns and volunteers provide a selection of art-making materials at the bedsides of patients upon request.

Aromatherapy: In an environment that could easily lack pleasing scents, this program uses essential oils of peppermint, lavender and lemon in symptom relief to enhance wellness and comfort.

Whether participating in activities at their bedside or in the TAAS Activity Center (Suite 5070), inpatients and their families and friends are encouraged to begin or resume activities of leisure time that characterize wellness and inspire hope. Through the TAAS programs, patients are reminded that they still have power in spite of the effects of illness, injury and hospitalization. The TAAS staff seeks to meet the patient wherever he or she is and, from there, introduce the creative possibilities. From Conversation, Crafts, Games, Puzzles to Manicures, from Art to Pleasure to Hope – there is no wrong way if the patient’s healing is nurtured.

Trailblazer Now, Trailblazer Than

An innovator in 1989 and an innovator today, Alice Kinsler continues to lead the way. When she started her work at Concord Hospital, programs such as she created here were rare if not non-existent. They are still rare especially where, like Concord Hospital, services are not reimbursable and there is no charge to the patient…even when they win at Bingo!