|The late Nancy Yanchus painted the tile featuring pink hearts, dogwood blossoms and hummingbirds that now brightens a spot of ceiling in the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center at Moore Regional Hospital. Shown with the tile before it was placed in the ceiling are Bobbi Clark, Outpatient Cancer Center; Artists League of the Sandhills members Joan Williams and Grant Roper; Margie Thomas, Radiation Therapy & Cancer Registry; and Artists League member Janet Garber.|
PINEHURST – An active member and former president of the Moore County’s Artists League of the Sandhills, Nancy Yanchus loved to paint.
She also had cancer and shortly before the disease claimed her life earlier this year, she took part in a project that combined her treatment experience at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital with her love of art.
By joining 17 other Artists League artists in a project to paint decorative tiles for three different cancer treatment locations in the hospital, Yanchus helped create a more pleasant atmosphere for Moore Regional patients undergoing the same kind of treatments she had experienced.
“Nancy was really the inspiration (for the project),” says Artists League first vice president Joan Williams.
On a recent October morning, Williams, League president Janet Garber and fellow Artists League member Grant Roper were on hand as Floyd McNeill of Moore Regional Facilities Services replaced white drop-in ceiling tiles in the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center with sealed acrylic images of a playful puppy, bright red poppies (the tile done by Nancy Yanchus) and hummingbirds hovering around pink hearts and dogwood blossoms.
According to Bobbi Clark, R.N., clinical director of the Outpatient Cancer Center, it didn’t take long for patients, families and the staff to notice and respond.
“The reaction across the board was just how beautiful the tiles looked,” she says.
According to Clark, it isn’t unusual for chemotherapy patients to spend the better part of a day at the Outpatient Cancer Center during a single infusion treatment. While some prefer dozing behind the privacy of a closed curtain, others read or visit with friends or family members.
The environment is as pleasant as the accommodating staff and volunteers can make it, but it still has the clinical atmosphere of monitors, tubes, IV poles and medications.
“Instead of looking at an empty ceiling, there’s now a colorful display of art that will allow our patients to smile or even forget what’s going on at the moment,” says Clark. “We feel that the art will add warmth and meaning to the total patient experience here.”
Tiles have also been placed on the hospital’s Inpatient Oncology floor and in the Radiation Oncology department, where the response has also been positive.
“Everyone seems to love them,” says Margie Thomas, BSRT (R)(T), clinical director, Radiation Oncology & Cancer Registry.
The tile project is part of a larger FirstHealth effort to introduce support services into the cancer care program. In addition to a designated cancer services counselor and a nurse navigator who coordinates care for newly diagnosed patients, those services include support groups, peer support through Cancer CARE-Net, yoga for patients and caregivers, exercise and nutrition assistance, massage, spiritual care and pastoral counseling, journaling and mindfulness meditation.
“We have a caring team available to provide support of all kinds, because we recognize that quality of life is so important,” says clinical social worker Beth Dietrich, LCSW. “We hope that our patients will take part in the supports that sound most helpful to them, because FirstHealth truly cares about our patients and their loved ones – mind, body and spirit.”
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