Montreal doctors can now prescribe museum visits to patients as treatment

Nov 12 2018, 4:20 pm

Doctors in Montreal are prescribing a new form of treatment to patients – museum visits.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and a Montreal-based doctors’ association have launched a new pilot project that treats patients with a day of paintings, sculptures, exhibitions and relaxation.

Physicians who are members of Médecins francophones du Canada (who work in both French and English) are able to send patients on visits to the MMFA, allowing patients to be accompanied by caregivers and family members to enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of art.

The project, the first of its kind, is used to deal with a variety of physical and mental-health related problems.

Doctors are able to assign up to 50 museum prescriptions over the course of the year-long pilot project. Each prescription allows entry for up to two adults and two children (aged 17 and younger).

“The MMFA-MFdC Museum Prescriptions program is a new treatment tool that makes museum visits accessible to thousands of patients suffering from a variety of physical and mental problems,” reads the MMFA website. “By offering free admission to a safe, welcoming place, a relaxing, revitalizing experience, a moment of respite, and an opportunity to strengthen ties with loved ones, MMFA-MFdc Museum Prescriptions contribute to the patient’s well-being and recovery.”

Ten clinical studies are currently underway that measure the impact of the Museum Prescriptions, with the prospect of permanent expansion. The project is supervised by the MMFA Art and Health Committee, made up of experts from areas of health, art therapy, research and philantrhopy, chaired by Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec.

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