Healthcare and the Arts: An Interdisciplinary collaboration – Summary of Twitter Chat

The fascinating twitter chat this week explored the relationships between healthcare, the arts and humanities. It was facilitated by Mr Ian Walsh, a surgeon and Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast @BigIanbo #ebnjc

Very quickly the chat highlighted related arts and health research. One study brought creative writing, objects, archaeology into thinking about death, dying and bereavement and was truly inter- and transdisciplinary. @heblau explained how each participant wrote a few lines to describe an object they had brought that reminded them of someone who had died. Selected words/phrases were combined into a single poem. @JulieCarmel1 a sociologist. Managed the study, and it led to the development of @CBondsStudy. An interesting point made was that there is a lot of emphasis on medical humanities but it seems nursing is slower to recognise value …. despite being a profession fundamentally interested in humans and humanity.

@RenalArtsGroup joined the chat. This group evolved from a patient who began to write poetry while on dialysis, he approached @helnoble and together they set up the group which now includes transplant patients, patients on dialysis, carers, academics, clinicians, all who are interested and involved in the arts.

‏@ClaireCarswellx who is implementing an arts-based intervention for patients with end-stage kidney disease whilst receiving haemodialysis explained how some of her favourite art (poetry, plays, visual arts) comes from experiences of illness and recovery. She’s also a huge fan of medical illustration and believes healthcare has contributed enormously to the arts and makes for really affective work.

@artshealth felt creative activity has long been recognised to have tangible effects on health and quality of life -aka Hippocrates. Good to see there is more recognition of the benefits of arts in healthcare Agree-art is often the catalyst for healing and growth towards wholeness. Offers new ways of imagining and have witnessed this in my work both as a nurse and psychotherapist (arts psychotherapy trained).

The tricky topic of RCTs in evidencing effectiveness was queried. @ClaireCarswellx stated – I’m of the school of thought that it is possible to find benefits using RCTs with arts (although I know it’s debated!) – @Daisy_Fancourt has run some randomised trials that have shown quantifiable benefits, and I think if it improves access it’s ultimately a good thing. @Bigianbo said: Evidence to date has been largely qualitative, but all-important funders eyes open to quantitative, which can sap the inherent strength of art.

Social prescribing was also touched upon – Social prescribing as per NHS England is really exciting as long as the link workers will be well educated about arts and health benefits and initiatives. It was felt there was a big shift in the last 10 years with the arts now credible since publication of Creative Health Report & research evidence no longer allows arts to be seen as wacky, airy fairy,
Also music therapists in UK + musicians form huge part of many art in medicine programmes in USA where musicians visit patients as prescribed by drs. @UFCAM have researched the benefits of music in acute hospital setting .

Resources mentioned included:
Implementing an arts-based intervention for patients with end-stage kidney disease whilst receiving haemodialysis: a feasibility study protocol

Music for healing: from magic to medicine.

Created Out of Mind

Music as Medicine

Music therapy in improving the quality of life of palliative care patients: does it work?

Music therapy in improving the quality of life of palliative care patients: does it work?

Don’t forget to take part in the next @EBNursingBMJ Twitter chat using #ebnjc on Wednesday 19th June at 8-9pm (UK time).

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