Date: Thursday, May 18, 2017
Session Type: Abstract Submissions
Session Time: 5:30PM-7:00PM
Methods: A prospective cohort of children with JIA (ages 8-18 years) was referred to the Art and Arthritis Workshop from local pediatric rheumatology clinic. Full day (7 hour) workshops were led by established artists from the local and extended community on various techniques (painting, sculpting, and journaling). The principle behind the workshops was to focus on children’s abilities. A reproducible standardized structure included: a focused theme for a session, demonstration by the leading artist on technique and individual guidance for each participant. Community engagement involved volunteers from the local University’s Faculty of Art, hospital staff and parents/siblings of JIA patients, and a journalist. Pre-workshop psychosocial health was assessed by the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Communication and Worry subsections (PedsQL 3.0 Arthritis Module, a standardized instrument; best score 100, range 0-100). Anonymous participant evaluations were provided at the end of each workshop on workshop quality, location, time, and “favourite part”.
Results: Eight workshops were held from January 2014 to November 2016. Twenty-eight individual participants (7M:21F) (8-12 per session) attended at least one workshop, with 84 participants in total. Mean [median] time from JIA diagnosis to first workshop was 51.4  months (range=0-146 months). The mean pre-project PedsQL subscore for Worry was 82/100 (range 8-100) and for Communication 68/100 (range 0-100). Six parents, 5 siblings, 2 art graduates and several hospital staff volunteered for at least one workshop. The art workshops were featured in local and University newspapers and on Youtube. Post-work shop evaluations were provided by 64/84 participants (76%): 100% (64/64) of participants enjoyed the workshops and 98% (63/64) the location, 92% (58/63) reported time was convenient, and 95% (61/64) indicated intention to attend a future workshop. As “favorite part”, participants responded: ‘seeing my painting come to life’; ‘learning how artistic I can be’; ‘good time for relaxation’; ‘the wonderful freedom of [the artwork]’ and ‘meeting kids my age with arthritis’.
Conclusion: We implemented a structured Art Program for children with JIA that involved artists from the local and extended community and volunteers. While limitations in “communication” and “worry” on PedsQL were identified pre-workshop, art creation allowed the patients to communicate in a non-verbal way and discover new strengths (art skills, engagement with peers). Our results suggest that such a Program can be a useful tool for patients coping with the burden of chronic illness while improving community engagement and disease awareness.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Dropol A, Lang M, Benseler S, Gerschman T, Johnson N, Loewen J, Luca N, Ponzio A, Rusted B, Schmeling H, Stevenson R, Stringer L, Twilt M, Miettunen P. “Celebrate Ability”: Structured Art Workshop as a Therapeutic Coping Strategy for Patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017; 69 (suppl 4). http://acrabstracts.org/abstract/celebrate-ability-structured-art-workshop-as-a-therapeutic-coping-strategy-for-patients-with-juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis/. Accessed November 20, 2017.
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - http://acrabstracts.org/abstract/celebrate-ability-structured-art-workshop-as-a-therapeutic-coping-strategy-for-patients-with-juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis/