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Visual art in hospitals: Case studies and review of the evidence

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In 2006 a Department of Health Working Group on Arts and Health reported that the arts have 'a clear contribution to make and offer major opportunities in the delivery of better health, wellbeing and improved experience for patients, service users and staff alike'. In this review we examine the evidence underpinning this statement and evaluate the visual art of three of Scotland's newest hospitals: the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the new Stobhill Hospital, and the new Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. We conclude that art in hospitals is generally viewed positively by both patients and staff, but that the quality of the evidence is not uniformly high. Effects may be mediated by psychological responses to colour hue, brightness and saturation. Colours that elicit high levels of pleasure with low levels of arousal are most likely to induce a state of calm, while those causing displeasure and high levels of arousal may provoke anxiety. The fact that patients frequently express a preference for landscape and nature scenes is consistent with this observation and with evolutionary psychological theories which predict positive emotional responses to flourishing natural environments. Contrary to a view which may prevail among some contemporary artists, patients who are ill or stressed about their health may not always be comforted by abstract art, preferring the positive distraction and state of calm created by the blues and greens of landscape and nature scenes instead.
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... Scarce evidence indicates that the presence of art in hospital settings may contribute positively to health outcomes among both patients and staff. Specifically, art interventions have been linked to improvements in stress, mood, pain, and sleep [39,40]. ...
... One study concluded that images of naturalistic nature scenes compared to either abstract or representational paintings, reduced mental health patients' anxiety and agitation during 3-to 4-day stays in a United States hospital [41]. Another publication argued that psychological responses to the green and blue colours found in landscapes and natural environments elicited higher levels of pleasure and lower levels of arousal of patients in three Scottish hospitals, thereby, explaining the preference for landscape and nature scenes among patients [39]. Effects of specifically implementing visual art works in meal environments on the meal experience or nutritional status of patients has, to the best of our knowledge, not been examined. ...
... The replaceable, sound transparent fabric is customisable for each use case. Keeping in mind the assumption that naturalistic images seem to be preferred among hospital patients [39], we invited the hospital staff to choose four photographs from the AKUART database to print on the canvasses (see Figure 2). The photographs were high-resolution images of a green cabbage, apples, blueberries, and an onion. ...
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Eating-related challenges and discomforts arising from moderately acquired brain injuries (ABI)—including physiological and cognitive difficulties—can interfere with patients’ eating experience and impede the recovery process. At the same time, external environmental factors have been proven to be influential in our mealtime experience. This experimental pilot study investigates whether redesigning the sonic environment in hospital dining areas can positively influence ABI patients’ (n = 17) nutritional state and mealtime experience. Using a three-phase between-subjects interventional design, we investigate the effects of installing sound proofing materials and playing music during the lunch meals at a specialised ABI hospital unit. Comprising both quantitative and qualitative research approaches and data acquisition methods, this project provides multidisciplinary and holistic insights into the importance of attending to sound in hospital surroundings. Our results demonstrate that improved acoustics and music playback during lunch meals might improve the mealtime atmosphere, the patient well-being, and social interaction, which potentially supports patient food intake and nutritional state. The results are discussed in terms of potential future implications for the healthcare sector.
... It is well known that the effective use of artworks within an interior helps expand and enhance the concept ideas at its base [4][5][6]. The general colour scheme applied within the interior in co-ordination with decorative and visual artworks helps create compositional harmony and balance, which at the subconscious level positively affects the human psyche and improves mental health [7][8][9]. As a result, the co-ordination between interior design and visual art objects can impact emotions and remains one of the most important components in creating harmony and balance within a living space. ...
... We must not forget that artworks themselves have an emotional impact, and can cause various reactionsfrom positive to negative emotions [7,10,15,16]. Structural analysis based on the review of references, as well as implemented creative projects, showed that emotional reaction to the viewer's perception of an artwork in the interior is determined by associative perception and depends on the following factors: 1) aesthetic, psychological, physiological needs, individual features of the recipient [9,17,18]; ...
... Playing patient-selected music has been shown to reduce pain and ease anxiety (Kilic et al. 2015); in a separate study, listening to music helped reduce the amount of time that patients in acute care settings were maintained on mechanical ventilation (Liang et al. 2016). Numerous studies have also demonstrated the effects of aesthetics and the built environment on health (WHO 2021;Yin et al. 2020;Kondo et al. 2018;Lankston et al. 2010), leading hospitals, clinics, and educational settings to make increased efforts to consider and incorporate art, sound, biophilic design, and green spaces (Lankston et al. 2010;Iyendo 2016;Scott 2020;Franklin 2018;Lambert et al. 2017). In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an extensive scoping review regarding roles of art in addressing individual, community, and population health (Fancourt and Finn 2019), confirming a growing global interest in understanding and applying art and aesthetics for mental and physical well-being. ...
... Playing patient-selected music has been shown to reduce pain and ease anxiety (Kilic et al. 2015); in a separate study, listening to music helped reduce the amount of time that patients in acute care settings were maintained on mechanical ventilation (Liang et al. 2016). Numerous studies have also demonstrated the effects of aesthetics and the built environment on health (WHO 2021;Yin et al. 2020;Kondo et al. 2018;Lankston et al. 2010), leading hospitals, clinics, and educational settings to make increased efforts to consider and incorporate art, sound, biophilic design, and green spaces (Lankston et al. 2010;Iyendo 2016;Scott 2020;Franklin 2018;Lambert et al. 2017). In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an extensive scoping review regarding roles of art in addressing individual, community, and population health (Fancourt and Finn 2019), confirming a growing global interest in understanding and applying art and aesthetics for mental and physical well-being. ...
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The health and well-being impacts of art and aesthetic experiences have been rigorously studied by a range of disciplines, including cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, public health, and translational clinical research. These experiences, encompassed in the concepts of set and setting, have long been claimed to be pivotal in determining the acute and enduring effects of psychedelic experiences. Responding to the field’s longstanding emphasis on the role and value of setting, a rapid scoping review was undertaken to identify the extent to which effects of setting and aesthetics on psychedelic experiences and therapies have been explicitly studied. It offers an analysis of the strengths and limitations of the extant literature and discusses evidentiary gaps as well as evidentiary opportunities for the field. The 43 included studies indicate apparent consensus regarding the importance of setting in psychedelic therapies, as well as consistent interest in theorizing about these effects. However, this consensus has yet to generate consistent, prospective, rigorous tests of setting and its complexities. As a result, the field continues to lack understanding or agreement regarding the effects of various specific elements of setting, the mechanisms by which they affect outcomes, for whom these effects occur, under what circumstances, given what conditions, and other critical factors. Further studies of setting and aesthetics in the context of psychedelic therapies are likely to not only improve these therapies and their delivery, but also inform considerations of setting and aesthetics for non-psychedelic interventions.
... The EBA should provide empirically founded recommendations, how art can be used in hospitals with benefit for patients [6]. Some early studies resulted in positive effects on well-being, length of hospital stay, stress, pain and analgetic consumption, so-called minor complications, depressions, anxiety and mood [7]. ...
... According to the theory of psychological evolution human beings experience nature views as calming and refreshing due to their adaptation to survival in nature, because a tendency to fecund and watery areas (biophilia) may have anchored a preference for the corresponding pictures and colors in human brains [7]. Consequently, everything reminding of dangerous situations like patterns associated with hostile animals and poisonous plants or aggressive faces has to be avoided according to this hypothesis [35]. ...
Article
Background: Evidence-based art is the investigation of art effects and art investigated for effects. In this study the evidence regarding patient preferences for art styles and effects of art in nonpsychiatric hospitals and outpatient departments was reviewed. Methods: Results from original articles were retrieved by a scoping PubMed search and by browsing the internet using the terms "evidence based art", "evidence based design", "art and hospital" and "design and hospital", "art effect", "design effect", "landscape preference" and "abstract art figurative art". The quality of art was not operationalized as a criterion. Results: Of the articles 7 original sources showed patient preference for natural scenes and figurative art, 2 studies showed no preference, 16 studies showed positive art effects on well-being and behavior and 5 studies showed a positive effect of nature pictures on measurable findings. Conclusion: Controversial results together with theoretical aspects suggest natural scenes in patient rooms and diverse art in public areas.
... Current evidence shows that the display of visual art has a positive effect on health outcomes including decreased levels of anxiety. This was shown to be particularly important for children staying in shared rooms, which is the case in our hospital (30). A study in an oncologic center showed higher parental satisfaction rate after redecorating the hospital ward to be more child oriented (31). ...
... Доктор и исполнительный директор больницы Sidney&LoisEskenazi (США, штат Индиана) LisaHarris курирует художественную программу, которая является главной частью ухода за больными, суть которой в том, что искусство перестает быть декоративным и оказывает терапевтический эффект.В России данный момент только лишь зарождается, существует яркий пример -паблик арт-проект «Арт-привика» (Детская Морозовская больница, г. Москва) [5,6,7,8]. В Казахстане подобных примеров не найдено. ...
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... Many experts believe that the general colour scheme applied within the interior in coordination with decorative and visual artworks helps create compositional harmony and balance, which at the subconscious level positively effects the human psyche and improves mental health [1][2]. Coordinating between interior design and visual art objects impacts the overall presentation and remains one of the most important components in creating harmony within an individual living space [3][4]. ...
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