Tent Talk: Healing Through Theatre

Today at 5:00 PM we will present our Toronto Fringe Festival Tent Talk: Healing Through Theatre. All are welcome to attend.

Our Executive Director Zal Press, will be joined by speakers Daniel Stolfi, of the Award Winning Theatre Production, Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, and Dr. Jeremy Rezmovits, from Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.  Brian G. Smith, Creative Director for Patient Commando and The Second-City Alumni will facilitate this humorous one-hour event.

During a kick-off event at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Theatre last year, Brian orchestrated a brilliant performance that demonstrated the power of theatre and humour. While today’s event will be a slightly different program it will undoubtably build upon the efficacy of performance.  Join us.

Event Details:

Panel members from the health industry, show business and patient organizations tackle the topic of “Healing Through Theatre” in a riotous discussion. This is Laugh Therapy at its best. Moderated by Brian G. Smith, presented by PatientCommando.com

More information available here

The Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s 581 Bloor St W

Tuesday July 10th 5:00-6:00pm: Healing Through Theatre

Bar open 4:30pm – 12am

If you can’t make it we’ll be on Twitter the entire time tweeting #FringeTT

Michael Seres – The Man With Olympic Sized Guts

The morning after my first bowel resection over 21 years ago, I was lying in bed still woozy from anesthetic. A troop of white coated doctors entered the room and surrounded my bed. It was my surgical team.

The lead resident was filling me in on how successful the operation was, how much bowel was removed, when he added, “Oh, by the way, while we were in there we removed your appendix too.”

He was much too casual about taking one of my body parts. I panicked momentarily, groping myself between my legs to make sure the surgeons hadn’t got carried away “while they were in there”!

I’ve learned to live with the consequences of those missing lengths for a couple of decades. I know I’ve been lucky. There are people in far worse condition than me. Then 5 days ago I came across Michael Seres online.

Michael didn’t just have a bowel resection. After years of chronic Crohn’s disease his bowel completely collapsed. A resection wasn’t going to do the trick. He needed a whole new bowel and was slated to be one of the very first people in the UK to undergo a bowel transplant.

The transplant took place in October, 2011. It hasn’t been an easy journey. But on Sunday, June 8, 2012, Michael sets a new standard in guts and glory by being an Olympic Torchbearer for the 2012 London Olympics.

You can watch him walk streamed live online here at approximately 9 a.m. EDT. If you miss it, we’ll be featuring it next week on our site.

We’re also going to be featuring Michael’s writings which are honest, enlightening, and visceral. With all that he’s undergone, he continues to understand the inherent connection between his reality and that of his wife and children. Through his constant blogging, and that of his wife Justine and young son Nathan, we will share all the intimate details of this unique story.

Even as one who has lost parts of my gut, I have difficulty relating to losing it all, then getting someone else’s to replace it. Michael Seres is my new hero. Aside from offering himself up as a guinea pig for this procedure, he’s taking us all along for the ride.

Thanks Michael. It’ll be exciting to see your walk on Sunday. Be careful playing with torches.

Here’s a couple of Michael’s blog posts to get you started.

The Best Medicine? | Metro News

Patient Commando gets the blood pumping with a big dose of its laughter therapy program. The non-profit group helps support those with chronic disease, in severe pain.

They’re not sick jokes, but rather jokes for the sick.

A new, non-profit company called Patient Commando is making sure that stories about health struggles — both sad and funny — get told and listened to. Laughter therapy has long been known as a powerful tool to release tension and get the blood pumping more efficiently.

In Patient Commando’s promotional video, a comedic actor spoofs everyone’s worst hospital nightmare.

Donning his hat, socks and shoes, he tries to make a dignified exit, but his hospital gown isn’t done up and his bare bum jiggles hilariously for all to see.

Comic relief — through laugh therapy and live theatre shows — is one of the ways that Patient Commando helps support people who have chronic disease, terminal disease or are suffering from bereavement.

The company also encourages people to tell their stories. “I’m interested in the expression of the story,” says Toronto founder of Patient Commando Zal Press.

“Listen to the patient voice.”

Press himself has struggled with the painful symptoms of Crohn’s disease, an inflammation of the intestines, for 30 years. “It feels like a cat trapped inside my gut trying to claw its way out,” he tells Metro.

Press gave up his job selling home decor to start Patient Commando. The company will be conducting public “laugh therapy” workshops at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto from June 15 to July 30.

For more information, go to www.patientcommando.com

– Celia Milne, Metro

Published in Metro – Wellness Section – Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good laughs: It seems obvious that laughing is good for us, but is there actual evidence? Spanish researchers assessed all the literature they could find about laughter therapy. A good chuckle has health benefits that are:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Quality-of-life relate

Partnering with patients to improve care | HIROC News

Several recent news items point to an interest in Canadian healthcare providers partnering with patients to heighten patient safety and healthcare.

Rather than providers positioning as the experts dictating interventions, some are looking to patients for their perspective on their own care and the larger system.

At the Saskatoon Health Region, senior managers are conducting weekly walkarounds where they engage front-line staff, patients and their families in dialogue about patient-safety issues.

The goal is to heighten the culture of safety through a conversation identifying issues and solutions, and it’s working, says vice-president of clinical and operation support services Sandra Blevins.

“We have quite lively discussions around care aspects, and educate patients about their role in patient safety.

“The culture shift is starting to happen,” she adds.

On June 20, Barbara Balik, a senior faculty member at the Institute for Health Information and CEO of Common Fire Healthcare Consulting, delivers a keynote in Toronto on the importance of partnering with patients and families.

In an earlier interview with Axiom News, Balik highlighted the value of those partnerships in light of the Excellent Care for All Act, noting they can contribute to a better designed system for effective cross-continuum care.

“If we partner with patients and families on very (aspect of the act), it will help us get better,” says Balik.

And Zal Press, who has had Crohn’s disease for 30 years, has launched an entertainment production company, with the goal of showcasing — through live theatre, public speaking and humour therapy — what it’s like to be a patient.

His debut production, Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, took place May 12 in Toronto at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Broadcast Centre.

Press says his hope is that healthcare providers in particular are inspired by the entertainment to begin to see the patient perspective in a new way and lead practice change towards a “culture of safety.”

– Michelle Strutzenberger, Axiom News

http://www.hiroc.com/AxiomNews/2011/May/May18.html

Patient Commando Speaks to The Ottawa Hospital

Three times a year The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and Leadership Development Institute (LDI) bring together approximately 450 executives, directors, managers, supervisors and physician department and division heads.  Each of these gatherings provide leaders with inspiration, information, and skill building, centred on fostering a culture aimed at achieving top 10% in quality and patient safety in North America.

Central to this mission is the patient and family experience. Patients communicate directly with leaders about what matters to them and how leaders and front line care providers can make a difference.  This is complemented with practical skills and tools that leaders can apply in practice.

Two weeks ago TOH hosted one of their triannual leadership events.  We were honoured to see Zal Press, Executive Director of Patient Commando invited to present: Patient Engagement in the Journey – A Patient’s Perspective

A Donation to SickKids Foundation

On May 12, Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, presented by Patient Commando, played to a sold out audience at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

The evening’s production was hosted for Lilah’s Fund – a fund that supports research into neuroblastoma, a cancer that mainly affects children under 5 years of age.

Last week the star of the Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, Daniel Stolfi and Patient Commando’s Executive Director Zal Press, gave a significant donation to SickKids Foundation on behalf of Lilah’s Fund.  A $5,000 check was presented to Dr. David Kaplan, Senior Scientist and head of Cancer Research at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Our sincere thanks to all of those who came out and supported our inaugural event.  We look forward to hosting many more productions and continuing our work in patient storytelling and education.

For information on Patient Commando feature presentations, speakers bureau and workshops please email info@patientcommando.com

Production Company Blends Live Theatre With Patient Experience | HIROC News

A new Canadian entertainment production company is blending live theatre with the patient experience, in hopes of highlighting the importance of engaging patients in their healthcare.

Patient Commando’s debut production, Cancer Can’t Dance Like This, is May 12 in Toronto at the Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Broadcast Centre, 250 Front St. W.

Zal Press, Patient Commando founder, has had Crohn’s disease for 30 years and recently sold his business to start the company. Press plans to take the productions across the country to give patients, families and health providers the opportunity to look at illness and the patient experience from a fresh perspective.

“It’s not just a story for patients,” Press tells Axiom News.

“It is about experiencing and understanding (the patient perspective) through new eyes.”

Patient Commando uses public speaking, humour therapy workshops and live theatre to present compelling stories from the patient perspective. Cancer Can’t Dance Like This is a one-man show and comedic dramatization of Daniel Stolfi’s two-year battle with cancer.

Press hopes healthcare providers attend and learn more about the patient narrative.

“By making them open to the patient experience would be a voice to guide practice change. It’s instructive. It helps create a culture of safety.”

Proceeds from Patient Commando’s feature stage events are being donated to charity. This presentation of Cancer Can’t Dance Like This benefits Lilah’s Fund, which is dedicated to the Hospital for Sick Children’s research into neuroblastoma, a cancer most commonly diagnosed in children under age five.

For more information about Patient Commando and/or to order tickets, visit the website.

– Natalie Hamilton, Axiom News

http://www.hiroc.com/AxiomNews/2011/May/May06.html