New Tranquility Trail at Victoria Hospital to give patients, families, outdoor experience

A new green space at Winnipeg’s Victoria General Hospital is aimed at helping patients and their families by bringing mental health care outside.

The Tranquility Trail, which will officially be unveiled to the public Thursday, gives the hospital a unique opportunity to offer a different type of programming, hospital executive Ray Sanchez told Global News.

“The Tranquility Trail is just really an open space outside of our hospital to allow us to provide formal programming for our patients and families, but also our community as a whole,” Sanchez said.

“It’s an area that we can bring our patients outside, we can do yoga, we can do other activities — recreational therapy, we are planning to have a little art area in the back of the garden …it just really becomes a place we can bring patients outside for a different experience in health care and away from the traditional bricks and mortar.”

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Sanchez said the trail can also act as a way for families to visit with hospital patients in a more comfortable setting. It can be an alternative location for visitors to meet with staff to discuss their loved ones’ care — and even a less institutional setting to receive emotional news.

“It’s a different place,” he said. “It’s better than going down and sitting in an open cafeteria with a bunch of people talking and that type of thing.”

The trail was designed with the help of the hospital’s mental health team, based on studies that suggest people can respond better to stress and mental fatigue in fresh air, and that time spent in green space can have a positive impact on improving cognitive function in older adults.

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Click to play video: 'Art and mental health at new Tranquility Trail'

Art and mental health at new Tranquility Trail

Uyen Pham, executive director of Artbeat Studio, told Global Winnipeg her organization has been working with the Victoria Hospital Foundation for many years, using art as a way to help patients — something that will continue in the new space, with the involvement of former patients who have gone on to artistic pursuits after their stay in hospital ended.

“We used to do presentations here at the hospital pre-COVID,” Pham said. “We have our artists, some of our alumni, and we will be painting a boulder here at the Tranquility Trail. It’s just kind of giving back to where they started at the hospital.

“Art is a way for people just to relax their mind and to focus on something else other than their mental illness at that time.

“We focus on the art and not the illness, keeping hands busy, just using their imagination and focusing on the task at hand.”

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Click to play video: 'Artbeat Studio and Victoria Hospital partnership supporting artists'

Artbeat Studio and Victoria Hospital partnership supporting artists

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