16 June 2023

Workshops offered for dementia patients

In 2023, Southampton Hospitals Charity launched an Arts in Hospital programme for patients at University Hospital Southampton. As part of this, we have recently funded a series of clay workshops for our dementia patients.

Different themes were explored during each session, with the first workshop focussing on creating a simple 3D hand-sized clay portrait of themselves, a family member or friend, each other, or an imaginary person. The second workshop included the creation of a clay teacup and saucer, and the final workshop, clay animal tiles.

Workshops, run by tutor Jo Bressloff, were adjusted and developed to accommodate the abilities of, and the preferences expressed by the participants taking part.

Barbara Smith, Lead Matron for Medicine for Older People, commented on the difference the workshops are making: “The participants are really enjoying the workshops. Seeing the amazing ideas they have come up with and the final pieces are so inspiring. We can’t wait to run more workshops like this in the future, and to bring more art to University Hospital Southampton.”

Cath Jordan, Head of Charity Communications & Art at Southampton Hospitals Charity said: “Everyone on the ward has been so impressed with the workshops. For dementia patients on Bassett ward, this type of workshop can be a transformative experience, allowing individuals to tap into their creativity and express themselves in a unique way.

“Working with clay also provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can help boost mood and improve overall wellbeing. As a team, we do all we can to support our patients and I’m proud that our Trust is able to offer this activity to enhance care.”

Introducing art into a hospital setting can have a positive impact on patients’ physical and mental wellbeing. Art has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and can provide a source of comfort and distraction for patients who may be undergoing medical treatments or facing health challenges.

It can also create a sense of community and connection among patients, families, and staff, fostering a healing environment.

Additionally, engaging in art-making activities can provide patients with a sense of purpose and accomplishment, boosting their self-esteem and motivation. Overall, incorporating art into hospitals can contribute to the holistic care and wellbeing of patients, making it a valuable addition to any healthcare setting.

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