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Window Shades Illuminate End of Life Care
|January 20, 2011|
There’s a room on Mount Desert Island Hospital’s third floor where patients can look out the window and, regardless of the weather outside or the circumstances inside, be comforted by the serene image of stars on a moonlit sky.
The image, painted by local artist Helen Douglas, is designed to bring peace and comfort to patients in their final hours. The semi transparent shade allows light to pass through, illuminating the design.
Donated to the Hospital for the recently formed Palliative Care Team, the shade is one of many produced by Bar Harbor-based company Shades D’Art.
The idea for shades came from another of Douglas’ creations. “She designs lampshades and developed the idea of art that uses backlighting as an element,” explained business partner Katharine Fenton-Hathaway.
Seen from the inside, sunlight makes the image appear to glow. “When a light is on in the room, the design on the shade can also be seen from the outside,” said Fenton-Hathaway.
Hathaway envisions their product being in every hospital in the country. “Art has the ability to transform people’s experience,” said Fenton-Hathaway. “Through the transformative power of Helen’s art, we believe these window shades will help patients and their families grieve and heal.”
“As we all know, a piece of art can change the feeling in a room and provide an opportunity to take our minds to another place,” said Barbara Hannon, the Hospital’s VP of Nursing Services.
The Hospital’s Palliative Care Team, comprised of volunteers and staff members, works with terminally ill patients and families to prevent and relieve physical, psychosocial and spiritual suffering. They have also worked to designate and design the Hospital room where people can spend their last moments in comfort.
In addition to the shades, the room is adorned with handmade quilts donated by the Healing Hands Quilt Group, a Canadian rocker, a stereo system, and special lamps all donated by the Hospital’s Auxiliary. “This lovely space is a result of everyone working together as a team to make this a room of peace and of comfort for the patients and families who will require palliative care services,” said Hannon.