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Artworks: Poster No: A1
When words are not enough – the use of commissioned art
  1. Susan Salt
  1. Trinity Hospice and Palliative Care Services, Blackpool Penny Warden, London, UK


In 2010 to celebrate 25 years of hospice care in Blackpool Trinity Hospice commissioned artist Penny Warden to paint a sequence of paintings around the theme of dance to hang in the Hospice Chapel. The commission specified that the paintings must reflect the mission statement of the hospice – ‘enabling compassionate care on the journey to the end of life’ and represent the essence of hospice care in terms of helping individuals find a new way to be with whatever they were facing. Seven canvases were painted entitled, lost, body, mind, spirit, dance of life, found and hope. These paintings have been used extensively in both formal counselling sessions as well as informally by many visitors to the hospice. The images have been made into postcards that people can take home with them if they have been helped by one or all of the images. From January 2011 to June 2011 all visitors who made use of the chapel were invited through a poster near the paintings to record their response, both positive and negative, to the paintings by making a comment on them in a folder put out for that purpose. No attempt was made to encourage people to write in the folder. Over that 6 month period, 172 patients were admitted into the 28 bedded adult in-patient unit. A total of 59 individuals made an entry. Fifty-seven of the entries made positive comments such as uplifting, and inspirational, made me think, reflected how I was feeling. Two of the entries disliked the paintings one commented that they were inappropriate for a chapel and one the lighting was too bright. Informal feedback suggests that using artwork that has been specifically commissioned to reflect key elements of hospice care are appreciated by a significant minority of visitors to one hospice

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