Arts in health care

Nurses General Nursing


  • by twarlik
    Specializes in CICu, ICU, med-surg.

What do you all think of this?


Arts Provide Proven Benefits to Patients and Care Providers

Washington, D.C.- Arts in healthcare programs must be strengthened and expanded to improve the country's medical services, according to a two-part report issued today by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Advocates must raise awareness of the benefits of arts in healthcare, better document and disseminate research demonstrating its value, develop a national funding base, and develop adequate training to educate and train healthcare workers and administrators, the report states.

A recent symposium, hosted by the NEA and the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, brought together 40 experts in medicine, the arts, social services, media, business and government to develop a strategic plan for advancing cultural programming in healthcare. A concept paper detailing the current state of the arts in healthcare provided the basis for discussion and the resulting strategic plan will form the blueprint for future progress.

"The arts have an extraordinary ability to enhance our lives, to help us heal and to bring us comfort in times of great stress," according to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "We must reconnect the arts with the actual human existence that Americans lead, the journeys we take in life, which lead us through hospitals, to hospices, to the end of life."

According to the symposium concept paper, the arts can be incorporated into healthcare in a wide variety of ways. Artists and arts administrators may provide arts activities designed to help patients relax, socialize, find solace, or express their emotions. Many hospitals create a healing environment that includes artwork in patient rooms and waiting areas or live music and performances in public spaces designed to lift the spirits and alleviate stress for patients and healthcare providers. Hospices and other facilities find that arts activities can rejuvenate caregivers who witness illness and death often and can experience depression, fatigue, and burnout. Other programs use the arts to promote health and well-being within the broader community. These include activities that promote arts-related contact between youth and older adults; access to the arts for people with disabilities; and helping communities use the arts to better deal with grief and loss in times of crisis.

The NEA-sponsored research detailed in the concept paper indicates art contributes to the perception of quality of medical care by bringing more warmth, stimulation and comfort to a healthcare facility. In addition, it states that art can have a positive impact on the mood of patients, their families, and the healthcare professionals who are tending them.

"The arts and healthcare are at a turning point, both buffeted by the economy and changing demographics, and, at times, by horrific events that can shatter a community in an instant," according to Naj Wikoff, President, Society for the Arts in Healthcare. "It is clear that a closer alliance between those in the arts and healthcare will greatly benefit both fields and the people they serve."

The symposium's recommendations will be used as guidelines for developing programs and structuring policy by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other public and private organizations across the country.

The National Endowment for the Arts has been supporting a broad range of professional arts programming in healthcare settings since 1978, reinforcing the agency's goals to make the arts more widely available and to improve the quality of life for all Americans through the arts.

The Washington, D.C.-based Society for the Arts in Healthcare was founded in 1990 to promote the incorporation of the arts as an integral component of healthcare.

For more information, contact the NEA Office of Communications at 202-682-5570 or visit the NEA Web site at


11 Posts

Todd, thank you for this. This is a great thing for our patients. I especially prefer the healing power of music. I can just imagine myself giving a piano concert at the hospital where I work to the stroke pts!!!! That's why I'm enrolling in piano lessons, it's such a treat to have others enjoy it.

I really hope the hospitals take note of this and are willing to invest more money in a healing art program. After all, we all want shorter recovery time, huh?

BTW, I thought the govt' had done away with NEA! Guess not.


573 Posts

Specializes in CICu, ICU, med-surg.
Originally posted by NurseLili

BTW, I thought the govt' had done away with NEA! Guess not.

No, they're still around. They cut a lot of their funding back in the 90's and did a major restructuring of their programs.

Glad you appreciated the article.

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