Virginia art service project uses community to support terminally ill patients – The Virginian-Pilot
LYNCHBURG — It’s inevitable that doctors will end up breaking bad news to their patients, young and old — including, sometimes, that the patient has been diagnosed with cancer or some other terminal illness.
Dr Andrew Anderson, owner of Boonsboro Direct Primary Care – soon to be renamed Kaya Health – said it can be overwhelming for the patient, their family as well as the doctor.
“You see your patients – people you really, really care about – and have done a lot of work since medical school and the years leading up to the fact that you finally saw them and cared for them and provided them with a diagnosis and options and then you kinda get desperate because not only are we supposed to help them from a physical perspective but also from a holistic perspective,” he said.
Wanting to do more than give patients a diagnosis and send them away with a treatment plan, Anderson created a community art service project by connecting with local students in the area.
Anderson reached out to art teachers at Liberty Christian Academy and Jefferson Forest High School to ask if students would volunteer their time to paint inspirational quotes on donated canvases to give to patients.
“So when somebody gets one of these misdiagnoses, they can pull something off that wall – one of these inspirational quotes – and they can kind of start that really tough medical journey on the right foot with inspiration. in his heart and in his hands,” he said.
The office now has over 50 prints filled with landscapes, scriptures and inspirational quotes such as “When you focus on the good, the good gets better” and “The best view comes after the toughest climb.” »
Kaya Health is a membership model that has been open for about three years. The office was formerly located in Boonsboro near Kroger.
Direct primary care physicians do not bill insurance companies for their services and instead charge patients a monthly fee. For these fees, patients generally have unlimited access to their doctor.
“We’re doing this so we can bypass all of these ugly things that insurance requires doctors to do that they don’t want to do, so that we can take better care of our patients,” Anderson said.
He said patients don’t want to believe they have a diagnosis until they absolutely have to.
“They come to the doctor and say, ‘Hey, I have this symptom and I feel this’, but they don’t want to believe it. They kind of know there’s something going on and that’s why they’re there, but then when they get the MRI result or the lab work and they’re like, ‘Hey, you have this life-changing diagnosis,” it’s getting official and really real, really fast. And to say the least, truly shocking,” he said.
Two JF students decided they wanted to do more and felt inspired to create more paintings in their spare time. Last weekend, they organized a painting evening at school with several of their classmates.
Grace Houghton, a junior, and Hannah Wright, a senior, took the acrylic paints and canvases donated by Anderson and made more than 20 original paintings to give to the doctor’s office.
“I just feel like it means a lot to give back to people who need support,” Houghton said. “My grandmother had cancer and she would never have really recovered if it weren’t for the support we gave her. We therefore believe that just by giving of our time and our artistic abilities, someone can know that we are thinking of them.
In Wright’s view, it’s not just about what the webs say, it’s about what’s behind the webs and that real people in the community care about and support patients. .
Anderson said the paintings are a tangible reminder that people are thinking of these patients.
“Sometimes it can just be a little nudge in the right direction because some of these diagnoses can predict some pretty tough and lonely times,” he said.