Arts in Health - A No-Brainer
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Author: Sally Francis, Indaily
AS arts coordinator at Flinders Medical Centre, a 560-bed acute-care hospital in southern Adelaide, I witness every day the benefit the arts can have in a frequently busy and at times stressful clinical environment.
From patients moved to tears by music to those overjoyed at painting an artwork for the first time, the response is overwhelmingly positive and welcomed by staff, patients and visitors.
For many people displaced through hospitalisation and disconnected from the familiar surrounds of everyday life, the arts provide an opportunity for social engagement, skills development, relaxation, reflection and emotional release. With a significant rise in patients isolated due to infection control issues and an escalating aged-care patient population, this is becoming all the more important.
For staff, the arts can help make the environment more pleasurable to work in, providing relaxation in a busy day. They can also provide new skills and provoke ways of thinking which lead to different approaches to patient care. The use of arts in health care has been shown to increase staff morale and job satisfaction, increasing rates of job retention.
Arts in Health at Flinders Medical Centre was the first hospital-based arts-in-health program in South Australia and has been running for more than 16 years. The program is widely recognised for its diverse and innovative programming, which includes visual art exhibitions, live music performance, film, dance, storytelling, art therapy, workshops and roving art activities.
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