Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | March 23, 2021

Duke Raleigh Hospital to Incorporate Arts into Health Approach

On Tuesday, the sound of March of the King of Laois permeated the waiting room in Duke Cancer Center Raleigh where professional musician Michelle Cobley was playing the harp.

Over its soft melody, the familiar sound of a nurse could be heard calling a man from the waiting room back for treatment. As he got up, he paused to share words with Cobley.

“I truly enjoyed it,” he told Cobley. “It made me forget my worries for a moment. My brain, my heart, my soul, truly benefitted from this.”

A collaboration with the Arts & Health Program at Duke University and funding support from the PNC Foundation will bring Cobley to the Duke Raleigh Hospital campus to play in the Duke Cancer Center Raleigh waiting room, the main hospital lobby and on inpatient hospital floors each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Duke Raleigh Hospital aspires to improve health and inspire hope for the patients in our community by integrating the arts into healing for patients and their families. Making the arts a priority at Duke Raleigh Hospital reflects national and international research on the impact of the arts on both health and resilience, as well as its often profound influence in the healing process,” said Duke Raleigh Hospital Interim President Leigh Bleecker of the Arts & Health Program’s expansion to Duke Raleigh Hospital.

Though the program at Duke Raleigh Hospital begins with Cobley as an artist-in-residence providing live music, the arts are weaved into expansion projects planned across the hospital campus. When Duke Raleigh Hospital opens its 92-bed South Pavilion this summer, it will not just be filled with state-of- the-art equipment; it will include inspiring regional artwork and a healing garden complete with a labyrinth for patients, their loved ones, and hospital team members to enjoy.

“In the art-focused Triangle, we are uniquely positioned to partner with local artists to further develop our approach to outstanding care with the integration of arts,” said Bleecker. “We are excited to add artwork that is meaningful and inspirational and includes artists that represent our diverse community.”

Later in 2021, the hospital plans to begin distributing custom-designed coloring books for patients and allowing patients to request a musician to play at their bedside. Duke Raleigh Hospital team members will also contribute art they have created to adorn the main hallway in the hospital’s North Pavilion.

–By Erin McKenzie

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