A pilot evaluation of the Arts for Life project in end-of-life care
Ann Gallagher Senior research fellow, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, Surrey
Aims To explore and evaluate the experience of the ‘Arts for Life’ project among patients or residents with terminal illness in nursing homes and the community, their relatives and practitioners.
Method Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with five patients/residents and two relatives. Five practitioners including a music therapist and a digital artist were involved in the study.
Findings The evaluation discusses the perceived benefits and challenges of the Arts for Life project from the perspectives of a small sample of patients/residents, relatives, nurses and arts facilitators. The findings suggested that the Arts for Life project provided opportunities for participants to express their creativity and individuality. A range of benefits was identified. Participants described their involvement in the project as providing a means of escapism, relief from pain and anxiety, and as helping them to engage with loss.
Conclusion The findings should be interpreted with caution as a result of the small sample size. The evaluation suggests that people with different diagnoses benefit in different ways from participation in the arts. An understanding of the role of the arts enables nurses to appreciate different responses to end-of-life care. Larger scale research is required with focused evaluation objectives to explore further the issues raised.
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
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