Volunteers hearten cardiac transplant patients through art, music

THE DAILY BRUIN | Jillian Frankel
UCLA cardiologists partnered with Marymount High School students in April 2014 to establish Heal My HeART, an art and music therapy program that helps relieve patients suffering from heart failure and transplant recovery. (Jennifer Hu/Daily Bruin)
Doctors, nurses and visitors bustle past one another under directory signs in the white, marbled lobby of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. But upstairs on the seventh floor, noises settle into a rhythm of beeping heart monitors and murmuring nurses.

At the cardiac care and observation unit, heart transplant patients can spend up to four months with little to do besides wait for an organ, said unit nursing director Anthony Chan, who has worked at the hospital for 16 years. Much of their days are spent alone until volunteers from a program called Heal My HeART arrive for another therapy session.

UCLA cardiologists partnered with students at Marymount High School in April 2014 to establish Heal My HeART, an art and music therapy program designed to help relieve the emotional and physical strain that come from heart failure and transplant recovery. Volunteers play music, draw and paint with patients in 30- to 60-minute sessions.

Heal My HeART helps cardiac patients between the ages of 18 to 65 escape long hours of solitude and express themselves through art when they’re too vulnerable to use words, Chan said. Continue reading 
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