Art Provides Creative Relief For Patients At The Royal

A patient works with artist Rachael Howard on their own piece of art

DEMENTIA and stroke patients at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital have been given the opportunity to create their own works of art as part of a creative art programme.

The six-week project called ‘Making a Difference’ is part of a partnership between the Royal and The Bluecoat Display Centre. Funded through the Arts Council’s ‘Grants for the Arts’ programme and other charitable foundations, the project focuses on providing dementia and some stroke patients with a stimulating activity to concentrate on for a short period while being treated in hospital. Rachael Howard, the artist commissioned to take part in the project, wanted patients to focus on their art rather than the time they were spending in hospital. Rachael said: “It’s something to take a patient’s mind off their hospital visit. We want the work they do to empower them with a small project they can be proud of. “What we have seen is patients become engrossed in the work they’re doing. It has been lovely to see the joy on their faces and the interaction their art has encouraged between patients, relatives and staff.” Maureen Bampton, director of the Bluecoat Display Centre, said: “The project was designed to be an immersive experience between patients and carefully selected leading contemporary craft makers, who appeared to really benefit from the contact and exploration seen within the residencies”. After finishing their artwork, patients are given a copy of their art to display proudly on their ward. Originals will be used as part of a collaborative exhibition to be displayed alongside the Rachael’s own work in the Royal at a special event on Wednesday 18 May. Shaun Lever, dementia practitioner for the Trust said: “Giving dementia patients stimulating activities during their stay in hospital is a real benefit to the patient. Taking some time to concentrate on their own artwork gives patients the opportunity to express themselves in a different way. “Patients have responded well to taking part in the project and it has been a great experience for everyone involved. Even spending some time with Rachael and talking about their art can help a patient in their rehabilitation.”