At the REH Artlink have always supported the involvement of patients within creative and horticultural activity. The last couple of years we have been focused on the idea of ‘Grounds for Change’ which aims to not only provide valuable activity for the patients, but also to effect some form of physical change to their environment.
The programme responds to:
The need for activity that patients can undertake. Through a variety of workshop programmes we provide much needed activity around the hospital.
The need for patients to have non-clinical spaces within the hospital grounds. Our aim is to transform some spaces into spaces that feel much more like a home environment than a hospital environment.
Patients choices are often drastically reduced when they are in hospital, we also aim, where feasible, to increase the level of choice presented to the patient.
The need for patients peer to peer support within the hospital.
The need for some form of normalized social environment.
The need for relatives to have non clinical spaces in which to visit their loved ones.
The first phase has just finished, and we were delighted to have author Laura Marney as our first writer. Laura is a Scottish writer with a great sense of humour, as anyone who has read her second novel, ‘Nobody Loves a Ginger Baby’, will know! Laura mentored 6 people over a 10-week period, two of whom are NHS members of staff.
We were delighted to also have Merrick Pope working on the project with us, to support patients and make sure that we are following all the guidelines. Merrick is a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Self Harm Service at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and has worked on writing projects in the past. There was lots of good dry witted banter between us all in the development and implementation of the project.
We have been really impressed by the commitment of the participants and the scope, range and skill of writing that has come out of phase one. We will be sharing those results in both text and audio podcasts in later posts, so please look out for them.
We are currently talking to Carol Paterson of the MAC (Meaningful Activities Centre) at the Western General, and we are excited about developing the next part of the project with them, delivering both the writing project and some training for staff.
We still have more capacity, so we would really like to hear from departments or members of staff at the Western General, Royal Infirmary or St Johns who would be interested in developing another writing project with us. Please contact Trevor on email@example.com to start those conversations.
Maggie is another long-term friend of the Artlink Hospital Arts Programme and has been a regular attendee at the workshops over many years. In the workshops Anne can hardly keep up with the paper supply for Maggie’s artworks and it proved no different during lockdown. Maggie has been super productive producing a vast array of exciting and vibrant artworks. There is lots to enjoy and feast your eyes on.
Joan is a long time friend of the Hospital Arts Programme and has been attending the workshops at the Glasshouses for many years. For anyone who knows Joan, they will know that lockdown is not going to put a stop to her creativity. Here you can see Joan displaying some of the works she had done over the last couple of months, being careful to socially distance of course.
Joan has created a series of fun Crafting with Joan cards which you can download from here, they contain all the instructions you need to craft your own creatures.
Most of the patients and staff of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital will know the Artlink Creative Hub at the Glasshouses are temporarily closed and all workshops stopped during lockdown. However this did not mean that people creativity stopped! During our temporary closure we have kept in touch with everyone who attended the workshops and set weekly themes for them.
All the images in this post are from the very creative and productive group of people who attended the workshops on a regular basis. We are now planning to restart some limited activity, which we will extend as restrictions ease. Initially we will start with one to one activity with Anne Elliot, bookable in advance. We are currently getting the Glasshouses ready for this. Anne will let you know when this activity will start and how to book. Our aim is at some point to restart small group workshops, we do not have a timescale for this now but will put out information when we do. Anne cannot wait to get back to start working with people again.
If you want to get in touch to find out more about one-to-one tailored activity or volunteering at the Glasshouses, contact Anne Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org
During lockdown the Royal Edinburgh Glasshouses volunteers have been catching up round a virtual kitchen table using Zoom. They have been sharing gardening stories, tips and cake, all in the virtual stratosphere of course! We are pulling together their latest ideas in a magazine which you can view and download below. We found that during lockdown people still wanted that personal contact even if it was on the end of a video call, and its been really important to keep our brilliant group of volunteers talking to each other onto they can all meet up again in the future.
Staff and patients at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital will have noticed a new exhibition called Edinburgh Landmarks in two sites there. Some works are displayed in MacKinnon House in the Link Gallery and some are displayed in the corridor in the new Royal Edinburgh Building. The works were all done in the workshops at the Creative Hub, Glasshouses before we had to temporarily close our doors. We are currently looking at how we might reopen the Creative Hub for one-to-one workshops and will let you know when we can restart some activity there.
Try and catch both parts of the exhibition as the work is different across both sites. Many thanks to our partners at Tonic Arts for making the exhibition happen.
First of all, we want to acknowledge the amazing work that NHS staff have been doing over the last 5 months in what are incredibly challenging times. THANK YOU.
Although Anne and Trevor have not been able to work on the wards during lockdown, they have been busy. Anne has kept in touch with various workshop participants setting different art tasks for them to try out, from still life to painting flowers to views from their windows. As time passed, participants began setting each other tasks. Other activities have included the Edinburgh Landmarks exhibition at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital which features artwork by workshop participants and staff members.
Just getting off the ground is Lost for Words, a creative writing project that pairs author Laura Marney with budding writers across the hospitals to create stories together. We are currently talking to the Scottish Book Trust on how to reach more people and involve exciting writers.
Finally, Art Games is a drawing exchange between St John’s and Liberton Hospital. Based upon a surrealist art game that allows a drawing to develop as it goes back and forth between participants, in due course we’ll be working in partnership with the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to create a larger scale sculptural project.
We will try and post as regularly as we can so there is something new to look at.
Please feel free to give us any feedback, or ask about participating in future projects. Artlink Hospital Arts Team contacts: email@example.com(normal working week is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)firstname.lastname@example.org(normal working week varies depending on projects, currently mostly Wednesday and Thursday).
Developing a long-term relationship with dementia care within the Royal Edinburgh Hospital through exploring ways in which patients, families, nursing staff and artists can work together as a team; learning from each other in order to make positive change within a ward.
Artlink has been working at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital over several years providing a range of participative arts opportunities and artists placements. The longer-term nature of our involvement allows relationships with patients and staff to evolve over time and creates opportunities to link in with specific NHSL led quality improvement initiatives.
In partnership with Charge Nurse Frank Charleston we identified Pentland Ward at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, a long stay ward for men with early onset dementia, as the best possible place to take a longer term learning team approach. It was also the focus of a Quality Improvement initiative led by Frank and Frances Aitken, NHSL Practice Improvement and Development and therefore had the added benefit of understanding how arts activity can contribute to creating positive ward environments which contribute positively to staff development and tackles absenteeism and high staff turnover which has a negative effect on quality improvement efforts.
It was decided that the learning team should consist out of NHSL staff, relatives, Artlink producer and artists, and patients. Pentland Ward was selected to ensure a continuity of involvement for both patient and family members. Selecting a long stay ward allowed us to take time to establish strong working relationships and follow through work with the same people from beginning to end. From the outset, we identified that it would be important to bring in other collaborators/ organisations to increase both the reach and scope of the project, as well as provide the additional resources that our collaborators would bring.
Using interactive performance to gain a better understanding of patients’ needs and staff practice at Liberton Hospital in order to address immediate issues of low motivation, social isolation and boredom; ensuring relevance and greater impact of longer-term approaches.
We had been approached to provide input to Liberton in early 2018 as a date for a move of patients form Liberton to new wards at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital had been established and need for input identified by staff. For over a year the start date for the project was put off, as Liberton closure dates appeared imminent, only to be pushed back until a later date. During this time, we were also working as part of Specialist Dementia Unit Improvement Programme in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland (report attached), funded by EVOC. We were interested in taking what we had learned from this work into other spaces facing similar issues.
Liberton specialises in medicine for elderly patients (a larger percentage of whom have cognitive issues). In collaboration with with key staff on the wards we decided in March 2019 that we should no longer hold off putting anything on the wards, as the need for input was now seen as critical. Patients and staff had nothing on their wards in regard to activity: ‘When we first went in it felt terrible in there. A low mood. Tired people. Very empty and isolating spaces as there were just the 4 wards working in the entire hospital (and now just down to two!)’ – Miss Annabel Sings
Activity on wards had diminished over a period of years for patients and staff, in anticipation of closure, ‘we have not had regular activity over the last 8 to 10 years’ – staff nurse who has worked on ward over the last 19 years. A charge nurse identified: ‘There wasvery little happening, music in hospitals once a month. That’s it’. Little activity and the knowledge that the wards were supposedly closing imminently, had left staff feeling like they were in limbo. The impact on staff, patients and families was tangible. ‘I’m bank, its worse for the permanent staff. It’s a nice team and it’s worrying for them. When are all the patients going to go? They worry that they won’t be with same colleagues, that a good staff team will be split up’. – Bank staff nurse working on ward for last 5 years.