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Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

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Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is more than a hospital; it’s a place of hope, possibility, healing and life. Our achievements are possible thanks to our generous, compassionate and committed community of supporters. Funds raised through Dry July will help Chris O’Brien Lifehouse continue to provide truly integrated holistic treatment and cancer care to our patients. Together we are changing the face of cancer.

Latest Updates

Carterie Program at Lifehouse

Part of the complementary therapy program at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, the current Arterie 'Carterie' program consists of the following:

• Mobile Art and Craft studio - Delivered Tuesday Wednesday Thursday to wards and waiting areas. Each day between 1-5 Carteries are in use (volunteer dependent)

• Arterie provides approx 45 volunteers per month to the Lifehouse Program

• All Carterists are trained artists - with formal qualifications in art, design, art therapy, social science etc.

• Various art and craft packages are on board the cart and prepared by volunteer ‘pit-crew’

• Projects vary from traditional textile crafts such as embroidery and knitting to collage, colouring-in and assemblage

• All members of the Lifehouse community from patients, staff, volunteers and carers are welcome to participate.

• Projects are often installed in public areas of the hospital adding a level of satisfaction, fulfilment and pride to the participant. Arterie artworks are installed throughout the hospital.

• Pictured - Carterie celebrated International Womens Day - making and wearing all things pink.

• Carterie projects make a difference to people with cancer - it is a welcome, meditative and often fun activity to help fill the many hours that are involved in cancer care.

• The project is evaluated in the process of delivering - sitting and engaging with the Lifehouse community; and in the end results - dozens and sometimes hundreds of each small project. Sometimes these are displayed and installed in the hospital, at other times the patients takes the completed project.

• Carterie projects are constantly evolving, Potential projects are researched, designed and trialled for suitability + fun. Projects are discontinued after a certain period to ensure the projects are fresh and exciting for the long term participants.

Arterie - art in health complimentary therapy

Some of the art projects delivered under this program, it is open to patients and carers alike of the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse.

Supporting Lifehouse

Dry July 2016 funding will go towards continuing the Carterie program at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, and toward an entertainment package for young adult patients.

Lifehouse's Arterie art therapy program supports the centre's holistic approach to cancer patient care through an innovative participatory arts program. Arterie’s mission is to improve outcomes for patients, families, carers, staff and visitors by easing the side effects of cancer and its treatment (stress, pain, fatigue, isolation and depression) as well as providing a therapeutic distraction from treatment through art engagement and participation. Carterie  is a mobile art studio manned by Lifehouse volunteers with pre-packaged activities considered and designed around neuropathy, fatigue and nausea that are delivered one to one during waiting and treatment. Costs covered by Dry July include displays, mobile trays and art materials. Carteries house up to 10 art/craft projects each term and the design, innovation, research and invention of new projects is ongoing.

Young adult patients' feedback has resulted in a request for individual CD players with a range of mindful meditation and relaxation CDs to help them cope with long chemo treatment. Audio books on CD provide an excellent way to escape from the reality of treatment and recovery. Kindles with pre-loaded books may also be provided. The idea is to be able to provide a comprehensive “entertainment” package to allow some respite from the long waits and even longer treatment times.

Patient Ambassador: Pepi

Pepi was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and has been undergoing treatment at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse since then. She is taking on the challenge of Dry July to give back to Lifehouse and in particular the support she has received from their complementary therapy arts program, Arterie. She started attending Arterie’s Open Studios to fill the gap between appointments and has found them lots of fun and interesting. Pepi doesn’t drink so instead will be giving up swearing, which she says may prove quite the challenge when in the car in traffic so she’s taken to creating her own “non-swear” words. So far Careless Clots, Fat-Headed Geese and Abominable Ninnies have all been given a work out.

Thanks for being part of Team Lifehouse, Pepi.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Arterie

Dry July is proud to continue funding Chris O’Brien Lifehouse complementary therapy program Arterie. Arterie supports the COB LIfehouse holistic approach to cancer patient care through an innovative participatory arts program. Arterie’s mission is to improve outcomes for patients, families, carers, staff and visitors by easing the side effects of cancer and its treatment (stress, pain, fatigue, isolation and depression) as well as providing a therapeutic distraction from treatment through art engagement and participation. 

The program uses paints, paper and pencils alongside state-of-the-art surgical equipment and internationally-trained specialists to provide innovative patient support.

Arterie team members, otherwise known as “Arterists”, are formally-qualified artists, designers, architects and educators who deliver the multi-pronged programs in bright orange aprons to all stakeholders - patients, carers, family, volunteers and staff including clinical, admin and executive.

Chief clinical officer Michael Boyer said, “Having an art program is one more aspect of looking after the whole patient. There is more to good cancer care than performing the right operation or prescribing the best medicine. Arterie is something that really helps us look after our patients”.

Arterie Co Founder/Director Amanda Solomon said: “The art is a conduit for conversation and communication. Our aim is to normalise the Lifehouse experience and environment, to make it look and feel less clinical using art practice, art education and art installations. It’s about engaging and focusing on non-medical issues, and having some fun in an otherwise stressful situation.“

Arterie Co Founder/Director Deborah Burdett said: “We get patients and visitors chatting with each other. We see large, burly men, hunched over, intent on colouring in rainbow hues to a butterfly’s wings. Patients sit, stitch and chat with each other. The repetitive nature of some art and craft making activities can be a great stress reliever and people can relax and not think about their illness for once.”

Patient Belinda Ellis is a mother, a teacher and wife healing from stage three breast cancer. She said, “I think that being kept busy was paramount in my maintaining a positive outlook during my treatment. The Day Therapy waiting room can be a sombre place and having happy, orange people pushing these carts filled with art pack surprises made the waiting easier.

“It’s not just medical treatment of the body that makes us get better.”

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