Use of Art in Diabetes care


In 2014 I asked "If diabetes had a face, what would it look like?" to persons scheduled for regular follow up visits. The response was diverse and amazing.  As a diabetes educator, a wide response to self-care is noted on a daily basis.  Diabetes is hard work.  It is challenging.  Sometimes it is downright hard to navigate through the demands of life, especially with all the diabetes self-care tasks that need tending.  The scientific results of the art analysis are noted in the Journal of Patient Experience; Elertson, K., Liesch, S. & Babler, B.  2016.  The "Face" of Diabetes: Insight Into Youths' Experiences as Expressed Through Drawing Vol. 3(2) 34-38.

As a the collector of the "art", I got a sense or feeling related to the drawings.  The sense was associated with each individual drawing as well as a feeling about the whole. As pictures accumulated, a collective feeling began to emerge.  After time, and much thought, the aesthetics, or the beauty of the whole emerged.

Aesthetics reflects a sensory or emotional value, a sentiment or judgement.  Sometimes a feeling whispers within, soft and fleeting, other times a stronger feeling passes over us-- like a chill down the spine. Aesthetics may involve a more critical reflection of the creation, yielding an appreciation of it's beauty as a whole.  For me, time yielded feelings about the "art" that were compiled and described in a poem called Ode to the "Face" of Diabetes,which is published in the AHNA Beginnings publication February 2017 (16-18).  Enclosed is a link to the Children's web page featuring this article. 

When emotions are high, and the demands of diabetes lurk, sometimes encouraging participants to tap into feelings about diabetes through art or words can help smooth out the edges.  As noted in the "Ode":  "What started with a wonder..."It" has been exposed...the desire to learn inflated!"

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Use of Art in Diabetes care


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