Embracing the Healing Powers of Art in Healthcare Facilities

Whether you are an architect, consultant or interior designer, your design vision can ultimately boost patient experience and health outcomes. By focusing on the patient’s well being from all angles, design has the power to improve patient experience, healthcare results and overall satisfaction. To this end, we wanted to highlight the importance of art in hospitals as one of the ways you can help give hope and healing to patients in care. 

Art To Reduce Pain 

“The view that art can have beneficial effects on patient recovery is generally accepted nowadays,” said Michael Mullins, co-author of a recent study on hospital art in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being. “It is also documented that art can reduce the experience of pain through distracting the patient’s attention.” 

While some facilities are recognizing this and incorporating more art in patient rooms, waiting rooms and common areas, others are thinking even more creatively. For example, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts last year announced a collaboration with an area hospital to allow doctors to prescribe museum visits to patients. The combination of getting outside of the hospital’s walls and having time to enjoy the calming effects of art can be incredibly therapeutic for those in care. 

Art To Raise Awareness

Other individuals are using art as a catalyst to inform and inspire. Dr. Wasim Ghori, for example, is the Medical Director and Consulting Diabetologist at a chain of specialty heart and diabetes clinics in Mumbai. He decided to use art created by his wife, Zubia Ghori, to raise awareness about COVID-19 through the “Quarantine Art Initiative.” Her works gained a lot of attention and were shortlisted in a special event put on by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to express solidarity with people in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Ghori says, “I have always believed in the power of visual art in tackling negativity and despair. At a time when there is constant negative news all around, I thought that people should create something positive and not just be passive listeners to the stories of doom.” He went on to say, “By integrating the healing power of arts and medicine, I intend to make a meaningful contribution in the delivery of better health, wellbeing and improved experiences for patients, service users and staff alike within healthcare facilities in India and lead innovation in healthcare design, services, and spaces.”

Art To Soothe

One of the most important ways that art in hospitals can positively impact patients is by calming their nerves. This is one of the main reasons the healthcare industry has been shifting away from sterile white walls and glaring lighting – and toward pleasing aesthetics. 

One shining example of this is the Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical Campus in Baltimore, Maryland. The art in this facility has been thoughtfully selected, some inspired by children’s books and others by nature. The interior was designed to feature natural materials, like terrazzo floors and marble and limestone walls, and a dramatic art collection with pieces from renowned artists on display throughout the hospital. 

Another great example of art that soothes the soul is Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The team there created a dedicated space for a Community Art Wall, where they display and promote the work of local artists. Gifted by the Howard-Steiner families, the goal of the wall is to promote local artists and the pursuit of visual arts as a healing practice.

When it comes to patient experience and health outcomes, art can play a pivotal role. Interested in including art and other intentional designs within your own facilities to improve patient satisfaction and well-being? We would love to partner with you and share in the design process to make this happen. Give us a call!