Background The arts have a therapeutic impact in differing ways along a spectrum from fun art activities and community engagement to art psychotherapy. Art psychotherapy exists as an intervention in the hospice. I wanted to create an open space for all patients, relatives and visitors to be able to drop into and engage with the art materials in the way that they wished, thus shifting the interaction from being what’s offered to what someone needs at that moment.
In 2007 the Department of Health and Arts Council England published the Prospectus of Arts and Health this promotes the benefits of the arts in improving everyone’s wellbeing, health and health care. Recognising and promoting access to the arts.
Method An art volunteer team was recruited, trained and supported by the art therapist. This open art studio space is not behind closed doors but open, visible and public. Situated in a newly extended reception space. This encourages both drop in and regular participants.
Findings Participants use the space very differently from whole families coming together around the art table being creative, having fun and mark making thus creating a legacy. To individuals who enjoy being creative and know the value of creative time and then experience a difference to their symptoms e.g. breathing as they relax.
Conclusion Creating a space with no physical boundary can feel safe, allowing participants to enjoy a “well” activity and have a respite from ‘being’ a patient. The work produced is given great value and held from week to week unless taken away at the end of the session.
This space is very accessible for patients being close to the ward encouraging someone who is well enough to leave their room to step out ofbeing a patient and more themselves.
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