The importance of the arts in the healing process has long been recognised. Florence Nightingale observed in 1859 that "variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients have a powerful effect and are actual means of recovery."
Our Hospital Arts team has built an internationally renowned visual and performing arts programme. We use our beautiful, museum standard art collection and live performances, of instrumental and choral music and dance, improve the wellbeing of users of the hospital.
Our pioneering work at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has attracted interest from countries as far away as Japan and New Zealand and inspired many other hospitals to start their own projects.
If you visit Chelsea and Westminster Hospital you will see our wonderful art collection on walls and in spaces throughout the hospital. Our art collection can be viewed by anyone visiting the hospital 365 days a year.
We are part of the BBC's Your Paintings. Uncovering the nation's art collection, initiative
Our art collection is important to those who view it. The mother of a patient recently told us...
"The art in the Hospital saved my life when my son was ill."
Evidence proves that live music can calm anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, increase the flow of endorphins and serotonin in the body. It can also reduce the quantity of anaesthetic needed for pain relief. All this speeds recovery time as well as making the hospital a more welcoming environment.
This is why we offer a programme of live music in a number of locations for patients, their families and members of the public. Our Thursday lunchtime performances are very popular. Below are some examples of the performing arts activities currently taking place around the hospital.
Each Thursday we provide free lunchtime concerts for patients, staff and visitors to enjoy. These are followed by ward visits, giving patients the chance to experience the music. We work with the Royal College of Music, Concordia Foundation, Asian Music Circuit & Dance Art Foundation through the kind support of private donors to provide a broad programme.
A weekly sing-a-long session for stroke and dementia patients. Family and friends can also request favourite songs. This activity has been shown to improve memory, visual awareness & mood, focus attention and help stimulate movement. Nurses on the ward have indicated that some stroke patients show no reaction to events other than the music, highlighting what an important tool it is in the recovery process.
Music On Demand
We provide musicians to help children celebrate a range of events such as birthdays, leaving hospital or other family occasions. This brings a normality to the hospital environment, helps foster a community spirit amongst long-term patients and gives a celebratory atmosphere.
In conjunction with Spotify, we provide soothing music in the chemotherapy and blood transfusion ward. This can act as a natural anaesthetic, increase levels of serotonin making patients feel happier, and help them feel more relaxed.
During school holidays, we provide arts and music workshops for children in the Chelsea and Westminster hospital, giving parents precious time off, engaging siblings, and making the hospital a fun and welcoming place for our younger patients.
For more information on Hospital Arts, please contact us on 020 3315 6618 or email us as email@example.com.
To understand more about the importance of the arts in a healing environment we would recommend the following useful organisations and publications.
The Art of Good Health: Using Visual Arts in Healthcare (Improving the Patient Experience)
Publisher: The Stationery Office Books, ISBN-10: 0113224982
The Arts in Healthcare: Learning from Experience (Paperback)
Publisher: King's Fund, ISBN-10: 1857172469
A Study of the Effects of Visual and Performing Arts-in-Healthcare