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P-72 Therapy requests: developing creative arts therapy service in a children’s hospice
  1. Jane O’Neill
  1. Demelza, Hospice Care for Children, Sittingbourne, UK


Background Designing tea towels, making thank-you cards and playing the flute at an AGM were all once tasks for the therapists at Demelza. We moved from misunderstood perceptions of our roles to develop a team of innovative and high quality creative arts therapists that provide emotional and well-being support to babies, children, young people and whole families that access Demelza services. All of the art, drama and music Therapists are educated to Masters Degree level and are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council.

Aims To design, develop and implement a team of qualified, professional therapists, delivering a reliable and consistent service that is driven by clear targets with defined outcomes. To enable emotions that are too difficult to put into words to be expressed through art, music, play and drama.


  • Creating key objectives with measurable and targeted outcomes

  • Developing new roles in the team; honorary affiliate music therapists and musician and artist in residence in order for the craft activities gap to be filled

  • Work in Their Shoes – being proactive in communicating opportunities to staff members across the organisation to experience a music/art therapy group and also providing updates and reviews electronically

  • To create a menus of services to define sessions such as, referred individual sessions, workshops, scheduled group sessions such as Saturday morning music

  • Team development through away days and regular team meetings.

Results Increased sessions are being delivered each month, communication has improved amongst staff, families can self-refer for therapy services and positive employment outcomes for the musician and artists in residence.

Conclusions Following structured sessions provision, the therapy team have now developed the Summer Therapeutic Arts programme that is in its second year. Therapy services now play a major part of the hospice care.

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