There are many programs that run throughout Canberra Health Services which provide respite and therapy for patients and families during their time in care. Through donations Canberra Hospital Foundation is able to support many of these therapeutic programs.

Arts and Health

IMAGE Canberra: our garden city, 2014. Digital print on vinyl film. Foyer Artwork donated by Mrs. Liangis. Artwork by Commissioned Artist Annie Trevillian.


Impressive national and international research repeatedly demonstrates that access to the arts makes a significant contribution to health outcomes. As a result, art programs in hospitals are becoming standard practice. The documented positive impact of art in hospitals includes reductions in anxiety and fear, temporary relief from pain, higher staff satisfaction, and a better connection with the local community. Canberra Health Services recognises evidence based research into the therapeutic value of art in the hospital environment and such documents as the National Arts and Health Policy Framework, 2013, which affirms that "Attention to the arts and good design can make the difference between health environments and buildings that work and those that excel."

Our community feels the same. The ACT community has consistently worked to see art in the hospital. The Arts in Health Program merely formalises this international, national and community expectation, shaping it to meet the considered needs of individual wards. The key findings of a recent survey of 300 patients, visitors/carers and staff members and twelve follow-up interviews showed that approximately 90% of those surveyed noticed and liked the art at Canberra Health Services and a similar proportion also wanted more art in the hospital.

The Arts and Health program has a strong policy framework that covers all art in Canberra Health Services but this is only the starting point. For each project the Curator of Arts in Health develops a clear understanding of the needs of the individual ward and its community, before proposing work for acquisition to the Arts in Health Committee.

Delta Dog Therapy

An important program supported by donations to the Canberra Hospital Foundation is the Delta Dog Program which sees dedicated volunteers and their special dogs making regular visits to patients in wards and programs throughout Canberra Health Services. A visit from a furry friend brings comfort and happy distraction to patients, solace to patient’s families and warmth and cheer to the staff caring for patients.

Delta Therapy Dogs is a heart warming program that brings the joys of animal companionship to those who need it most.


Doll Therapy


The Therapeutic Harp Program

The Therapeutic Harp program is a professional bedside service offering harp music at Canberra Hospital, the Canberra Region Cancer Centre (CRCC) and the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

A unique service is offered to all patients by Creative Arts Therapist and Certified Therapeutic Harpist Alison Ware. Alison plays one of four harps to tailor music for each person she visits.

Evidence based research has shown that music can:

  • Cultivate and promote a quiet space where sleep and deep rest can occur
  • Assist nausea, fatigue, depression and anxiety
  • Uplift, relax, energise and provide joy
  • Relax and support new mothers and their babies
  • Enhance quality of life to all, regardless of physical or emotional abilities
  • Reduce isolation and provide social connection
  • Assist with expressing emotions
  • Provide comfort care at end of life
  • Provide distraction
  • Augment pain medication and assist in pain management
  • Encourage reminiscence, assist mental clarity and stimulate memory
  • Relax patients prior to surgery and ease stress post-surgery


"Thank you for playing for Tegan today.  She loved hearing your harp and would love another visit if you can come back. It made such a difference to her." - Patient family member

"Thank you for visiting today. You are the only person she wants to see at the moment so please keep coming!" - Staff member

"Thank you so much for your cheerfulness and the harp's serene melodies - just what the Doctor ordered. She has been depressed and your visit was highly valued." - Family member

"It has been a real pleasure to have known you and to experience your beautiful therapeutic music. Thank you!" - Patient

If you would like Alison to visit a patient in hospital or would like further information on the service, please contact the Canberra Hospital Foundation office or Alison Ware on 0402 134 479 or via email: