Hospital Arts: News round-up

As the link between the arts and wellbeing is increasingly recognised in the health service, BBH continues with its regular round-up of some of the projects happening across the UK. If your hospital or consultancy is currently involved with a project, please let us know

Art therapy helps brain injury patients

CELEBRATIONS for the recent Action for Brain Injury Week at the Royal Preston Hospital culminated in an exhibition of art by recovering patients. Entitled After Brain Injury - Land and Sea, the paintings were put together by patients and their carers during workshops at the Preston Neurological Rehabilitation Unit, which is run by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Operated in conjunction with the charity, Headway Preston and Chorley, the sessions gave participants the opportunity to communicate, socialise and use motor skills, all of which can become damaged after acquiring a brain injury. Dr David Shakespeare, consultant in neurological rehabilitation medicine at the trust, said: "One of the key goals of rehabilitation is to help brain injury survivors reclaim their sense of identity and control over their life. Art therapy workshops can be a powerful tool to foster this."

Art competition launched for new cancer unit

A COMPETITION is being held to design artwork for the new £5m cancer and haematology centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. The initiative, launched as Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust unveiled its plans for the new unit, the competition invites people to submit any type of artwork, photography or sculpture which fits into either a 'Skyscape' of 'Landscape' theme. All shortlisted entries will be displayed at a week-long exhibition at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in November, before the winning entries are decided and shown in the new building, due for opening in autumn 2012. The hospital is also looking for a name for the facility. Adrian Osborne of the hospital trust said: "We are committed to involving people in the future of or cancer and haematology services. That's why we want them to choose the name of the building and fill it with artwork that's been produced by local people." The closing date for both competitions is 5pm on 7 October.

Photo contest brings the outside inside

A PHOTOGRAPHIC competition has been launched to brighten up the lives of elderly patients at the Bradford Royal Infirmary. The theme of the competition is Yorkshire Outdoors, which is also the subject of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) project, which aims to improve the hospital environment for patients with dementia. As part of the initiative, local people and trust staff are being asked to help develop a picture library for wards 23 and 29, which are being transformed as part of the year-long EHE scheme. Patient services manager for elderly care, Debbie Beaumont, said: "We are appealing to all amateur and professional photographers to enter their pictures, old or new, in our competition. We are also on the lookout for pictures which represent the changing seasons in a bid to try to visually help orientate patients as to the time of the year and to help them realise where they are as this will hopefully benefit many of our patients who suffer from dementia. We need to build up a library of at least 100 photos so they can be changed on the walls during the year." Prizes are up for grabs for the best entries.

Family donation to diabetes unit

THE waiting room of the diabetes department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth is now a brighter place following a donation from the family of a former patient. Irene and Richard Woolgar asked friends and family members attending the funeral of their son, Ian, to donate money to the unit. Ian, a diabetes sufferer who was treated at the hospital, passed away last September at the age of 42. The department has since used the cash to buy a woodland painting, which aims to give waiting patients something to look at. Partha Kar, clinical director of the department, said: "We are very grateful for Mr and Mrs Woolgar's kind donation. The painting really brightens up the waiting room, which is of great benefit to the patients and staff, as well as serving as a remembrance to Ian."

Artists transform childrens mental health unit

A CHILDREN'S inpatient mental health facility in Manchester has undergone a facelift, following the launch of an arts and health outreach programme. Youngsters from Galaxy House, an inpatient unit at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, have been working with experts from the Whitworth Art Gallery to enhance the appearance of the building, at the same time as exploring their mental health. The project culminated in a show entitled Who Cares - If you only see the illness, you miss the person which was launched at the Whitworth Art Gallery under the watchful eye of artist-in-residence, Lucy Burscough. She said: "The hospital was kind enough to welcome me onto the ward as their artist in residence, initially to produce murals for their living spaces and later to paint some of the portraits that feature in this exhibition. They introduced me to a deeply caring, thoughtful and positive environment that was a pleasure to work in and to help to brighten up a little." Peter Mount, chairman of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: "The work of Lucy and the volunteers from the University in running the art club sessions is really helping these children in ways which ordinary healthcare cannot address." During the project, staff and children from Galaxy House visited the gallery to engage with the collection and participate in workshops which initiated ideas for the 39 artworks that were eventually built at the unit. These include two murals in the children's living spaces.

Burnley Hospital is childrens favourite place

BURNLEY General Hospital has become a less-daunting place for young patients after the completion of an art programme. Children from Year 6 at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Primary School have created paintings around the theme of 'My Favourite Place' for display along the corridors and preparation areas near to the theatres. Prizes were given for the best artwork. Theatre co-ordinator, Anita Catherall, said: "We wanted something to brighten up the area where patients go through to theatre, and approached the school for help. We hit on the theme because we often ask patients to visualise their favourite place so they relax during theatre preparation and anaesthesia. The paintings are beautiful and we are really pleased with all the children's efforts. The paintings will be mounted and put up around the theatre area very soon, and I am sure they will really make a difference." Teacher, Helen Bibby, said: "The children have studied a range of different landscape art techniques, learning about the styles of artists from Van Gogh to Lowry, and have developed their own styles from the project work to create their paintings for the hospital."

Bringing asthma to life

ASTHMA sufferers in Nottingham are being urged to get creative for a unique art contest which will explore what it is like to live with the condition. Experts from the Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust are supporting the initiative as part of the Europe-wide project U-BIOPRED - Unbiased BIOmarkers in PREDiction of respiratory disease outcomes. The contest is open to people of all ages and will help bridge the gap between doctors understanding of the condition and a persons experience of it. All types of artwork are welcome, from dance, music and poetry to paintings and photography. The top three entries will be displayed on the U-BIOPRED website. Professor Peter Sterk, project lead, said: "The project aims to understand more about asthma and severe asthma. One important way we can do this is to hear from patients directly. This contest enables patients to express, through art, what the condition is like and how it impacts upon their life." Cathy Reynolds, senior research nurse at the Nottingham Respiratory BRU, added: "This is a great opportunity for anyone who has asthma to express what it feels like to live with the disease. Sometimes a picture really can say a thousand words."

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