“The art room is a core service and it has been from the minute I saw the benefits for patients myself. I think it offers a whole new arm to palliative care. It is a place where the patients feel they can really express themselves. It offers relaxation and a totally different environment, one they wouldn’t find elsewhere in the hospice. I’m absolutely passionate about it and we would never let it go. It makes a considerable difference to people. We can look for all the outcomes we like, but I think art is hard to measure. It is when you speak to people that have never painted or drawn before that you see it gives them a great sense of pride.” Rhona Baillie, chief executive, The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice
In 2015, we had 1137 patients for visual art, 53 patients for creative writing, 35 family members and 14 carers.
Participant feedback is overwhelmingly positive, with people regularly telling us how much they enjoy and benefit from the sessions.
We recognise creativity as a fundamental aspect of living a full life and The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice art room supports high quality, patient-led creative engagement, that has the potential to enhance a sense of wellbeing and bring positive health benefits to those that we work with.
Parallels can be drawn between the holistic and multidisciplinary approach of palliative care and artistic practice. Both are concerned with creating opportunities for meaningful interventions which give an individual a sense of autonomy, that empowers, rather than takes away.
We have identified six foundations that ensure the service delivers the best possible outcomes for the patients, families and carers that we work with.
1. Creative activities are tailored to each person’s interests and abilities to ensure the best possible outcome from each session. This is achieved through flexible and personalised planning with the participant, continually developed with them over time.The participant is always the author of the work and each mark they make is their own.
2. Supporting families and carers with dedicated art sessions for all generations, offers an opportunity for a positive shared experience for families in a non-clinical setting. These can often provide a bridge to access other services within the hospice. A monthly drop-in session for carers offers respite from caring responsibilities and an opportunity for peer support, while also offering them time to develop their own creative practice over time.
3. Our commitment to widening access is irrespective of age, gender, faith, race or ethnicity. Eveyone should have the right to culture and to engage with meaningful creative practice. This philosophy supports the work of the hospice’s widening access strategy in promoting its services to marginalised groups with palliative care needs, living in Glasgow.
4. Responsible working practices occur through our integrated service, by which each patient, family and carer contact is recorded electronically, outlining a service user’s chronological journey through the hospice. Artists attend weekly multidisciplinary team meetings to discuss new referrals and to raise any concerns for current participants. This ensures safe, effective, and timely communication across services to support the care we deliver.
5. Quality is important to us. As graduates and practitioners with an active art or creative writing practice of our own, we have more than 30 years' combined experienced working in the area of arts and health, and we bring a wide range of skills to the service.
6. We collect evidence and information to provide robust and anonymous data which we believe is essential in helping us to shape and improve our service. We gather regular feedback, records of attendance and daily workshop notes in relation to artistic practice. This enables us to evaluate and improve the services we offer to people.