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Commissioning art & therapeutic design

David Galletly developing wall graphic illustrations at National Museum Scotland. Photo by Ginkgo

David Galletly developing wall graphic illustrations at National Museum Scotland. Photo by Ginkgo

 

There is a growing recognition of the value of an enriched environment helping to reduce stress and anxiety and this is placed at the heart of our programme.

Significant national and international research began with Roger Ulrich and his study in the 1970s, View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery, demonstrating the positive impact of a considered hospital environment where art and design are integral to the building and to the experiences and health outcomes on staff, patients and families/carers.

Below is a sample of extracts from published academic papers and government guidelines providing some overview.

Scottish policy concerning healthcare environments:

“Health buildings can often be the places in which we may feel at our most vulnerable, whether as a patient, relative or friend. The quality of the building environment that we experience can provide us with calming reassurance or, conversely, it can accentuate our feeling of stress and unease.

Many factors can contribute to engendering a sense of ease, for instance: the first impression of the facility from the public realm, the entrance experience, the degree of natural light, brightness and airiness, colour and texture, an easily understood layout with clearly defined focal points, uncluttered signage and a clear distinction between the realms of public and private space, maintaining patient dignity.

The quality of healthcare facilities along with other public buildings and places can be a significant factor in making communities successful.”

From A Policy on Design Quality for NHS Scotland, 2010

Qualitative research: End of life environments

All quotations are from (Kennedy 1999; Forte et al 2004; NHS Estates 2005).

“The environment should actively demonstrate respect for the bereaved and enable an ethos of support.”…… “It has been suggested that these dimensions of care [attention to the feel of spaces through designs and artwork and a reduction in the clinical] not only have an immediate impact but can also influence the subsequent bereavement process”

Family experience: “We remember so clearly those last things… it makes a huge impact those last impressions they feature in your dreams….. It’s not just the parents but the brothers and sisters too. It has to be nice, not frightening”.

Staff experience: “…. if you go down corridors and taking a family down to a viewing room, you would hurry them, you’d be embarrassed about where you are taking them to… whereas if it is pleasant you will relax a bit because you’re proud of what you are going down to, it will be a comfort and care continued from the wards. That makes a difference.”

Quantitative Research:

Rosalia Staricoff’s groundbreaking research “A Study of the Effects of Visual and Performing Arts in Health Care, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital” (2003) carried out at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, measured the effect of visual arts and music on patients and staff between 1999 and 2002. One set of findings recorded that the levels of cortisol a neuroendocrine hormone, used as an indicator of stress in patients waiting for their operation in Day Surgery were lower in the presence of visual arts throughout the day compared to the levels found in patients in the control group.

“A statistical test was applied to establish a comparison between the responses of clinicians and nurses. The particular environment of this hospital eased their stress levels: clinicians 75%, nurses 60%, and contributed greatly towards a positive change in mood, in 88% of clinicians and 82% of nursing staff. For 96% of clinicians and 91% of nurses the integration of the arts into health care results in a very pleasant environment.”

Over the next twelve months we will explore some of the areas of this research and how the commissioned Arts and Therapeutic Design programme can help contribute to reduced stress and an enhanced experience for patient users.