Doctors can now prescribe visits to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
The Museum has announced a new health and wellness initiative that will help the well being of many at no cost.
As part of a one-year social prescription pilot program, the ROM is working on a collaborative effort with the partners of the ROM’s Community Access Network (ROMCAN), and it provides “an opportunity for people accessing health or social services to benefit from the uplifting experience of engaging with art and culture.”
“We know that museum experiences have the power to enhance the health and well-being of communities. By offering greater access to the ROM, our collections, and our programs, this new initiative will enrich the lives of many visitors.”
According to the program, research has shown that supplementing traditional treatments by engaging people in art and culture can help alleviate social isolation, promote physical and mental well-being, and improve overall quality of life.
And starting in January 2019, healthcare and social service providers can “prescribe” a visit to the ROM as a non-medicinal, therapeutic service to promote health and well-being.
The ROM says that with a referral through the Social Prescription Program, individuals are given a ROM pass (valid for up to four visitors) to enjoy free general admission to the museum and its associated activities.
The Alliance for Healthier Communities launched social prescribing in June, with 10 Community Health Centres Across Ontario, two of which are in Toronto: Rexdale Community Health Centre, and Stonegate Community Health Centre. The Rexdale Centre has helped shape the ROM Social Prescription Program by participating in a preliminary pilot program in the summer.
Social prescriptions are described as “a means for healthcare, community, and social service professionals to refer people to non-clinical and non-medical services that, along with existing treatments, can be a therapeutic tool for improving health and well-being.”
Kate Mulligan, Director of Policy and Communications at the Alliance, told Daily Hive that the program helps people that may have health needs that can’t be met by taking pills, instead it provides support, friendship, and volunteer opportunities that may benefit them socially.
“This innovative pilot project will mean more people struggling with health issues can visit the ROM and experience the many therapeutic aspects that arts and culture have to offer,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “By partnering with the community, ROMCAN will help people lead healthier lives and maintain better overall well-being.”
Mulligan said that with the launch of the program with the ROM, more partners are now interested to get on board with social prescriptions.
The ROM may just be the beginning.