The Benefits of Artwork in the Healthcare Environment

Art encompasses life in all its aspects. Not only in aesthetics but in a way, the quality of life and the kind of world we live in is affected, influenced by arts. Arts serves the purpose of beauty, as well as complexity in its entirety. We see how art gives room for science and technology to improve. How travelers travel the world in search for arts, how art helps hospital patients to recover and how workers enhance their quality of work when surrounded by art.

From tourism to healing and science and technology, the role and importance of art are acknowledged and used as a tool for innovation in such industries. The direct connection between Arts and the Healthcare industry has long been established and explored through studies and actual implementation of its findings.

Today, Arts in Healthcare is a diverse, multidisciplinary field dedicated to uplifting and taking the healthcare experience to the next level by connecting people through art and its benefits to patients, their families, and the health workers altogether.

This rapidly growing trend integrates the arts—be it visual design, multimedia, and performance, into a wide variety of healthcare as a setting for therapy, education, and expression.

What is the Actual Health Benefits of Art?

Art is beneficial to every person’s mental health, patient or not. Studies found a direct and strong showing link between the content of images that art offers and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety. Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of the arts in healthcare in hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, hospices, and other locations within the community.

Arts in healthcare programs and creative arts therapies have been applied to a vast array of health issues, including:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism and overall mental health
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
  • Neurological disorders and brain injuries
  • Premature infant births
  • Physical disabilities

Overall, art is beneficial to a person’s overall health condition, including medication outcomes, treatment compliance and quality of life.

The concept of using the arts in healing has gained more attention, and more articles and reviews about the trend were published in journals and academic periodicals. Many of which explored the effects of arts when patients and their families, as well as health workers,  were exposed to different art media.

Who Benefits from Arts in Healthcare?

The primary beneficiaries of Art in Healthcare are the patients themselves. Arts benefit them by aiding in their physical, mental, and emotional recovery, as well as relieving their anxiety and decreasing their perception of pain.

In a mostly intimidating and cold atmosphere and environment, arts can serve as a therapeutic and healing tool, reducing the loneliness and providing opportunities for self-expression.

Caregivers—both professionals and not (family and friends) are experiencing stress and anxiety in hospitals and other health facilities too. Everyday health workers face realities of human suffering, illnesses, and death. Arts allow them to have a sanctuary of calmness and relief, as well as a platform for them to release their emotions and stress.

At the same time, arts can act as a new opportunity for medical professionals to improve diagnostic and communication skills, which can be helpful in communicating health and recovery information.

Art: Helping to Transform Hospitals in the 21st Century

Hospitals are often seen and portrayed as a cold place where science dominates. Arts create a safer, more supportive and homey ambiance to these healthcare facilities that can affect the general setting for patients and workers, the same.

From the mere architectural design to art hung on the walls, from windows to landscaping and healing gardens, the physical environment was proven to have a significant impact on reducing patient and caregiver stress, improving health outcomes, enhancing patient safety and overall quality of care, and reducing costs. At the same time, it boosts the productivity of healthcare providers, increasing effectiveness and decreasing errors.

In 2008, already nearly 50% of all hospitals in the United States had arts programs. These means that hospitals, as well as the health workers,  are considering and discovering that art in general—including performance, music, and poetry have profound healing effects. Doctors, nurses, and therapists are now working with artists and musicians to heal people of all ages with many conditions including cancer and AIDS.

Hospitals all over the world are incorporating music and art into patient care. In the distinct environment and vibes od a hospital, Arts aid in making space contribute to a sense of place that fosters confidence, comfort, and healing.