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HEALTH OUTCOMES OF DISPLAYING ART IN HOSPITALS

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

Art creates an atmosphere where patients feel safe, socialise, connect with the world outside.

 A highly cited research report published ago by a group of Danish researches (Nielson et al, “How do patients actually experience and use art in hospitals? The significance of interaction: a user-oriented experimental case study”) shows how patients experience an overall feeling of approachability and care.

Details of the research

  • They studied patients confined for a period of several weeks in a common care hall.
  • During the first week, the walls of the hall were bare and blank.
  • Each patient was immersed in his own medical condition, not talking to the others in the hall.
  • On the eighth day, a series of artwork- paintings, pictures and photographs were displayed on the walls of the common care hall.
  • Most of the patients began looking at and studied them, diverted their attention from earlier self-absorption, began analysing and interpreting these exhibits in his own way, started talking to others in the hall and made friends, moving on to non-clinical topics, exchanged critiques and socialised more.
  • They listened to the nurses, doctors and other caregivers with greater attention, and their cure improved!

The researchers conclude that art creates an environment and atmosphere where the patient can feel safe, socialise, maintain connection with the world outside the confines of the hospital and supports their identity. The presence of visual art in hospital contributes to health outcomes.

Way Forward:

  • Given this, our medical colleges can try this and bring a practising artist periodically to come, explain and discuss his/her art work , and invite responses from the students.
  • Such periodic get-togethers, even if not part of the curriculum, will help broaden the minds and help in the skill of how to interpret and get more out of the images from scans obtained from machines.
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September 2022
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