Caregivers perceptions of the value of the arts in therapeutic and clinical interventions.

Lead Research Organisation: Anglia Ruskin University


The aim of the proposed critical review is to provide a general update on the Staricoff (2004) and Staricoff and Clift (2012) reviews on the medical literature on the arts and health with a specific focus on the hitherto underexplored area of health care professionals' attitudes to the use of cultural activities in clinical and therapeutic settings.
Staricoff's seminal review (2004) identified a number of benefits to using arts in health care settings; this review was recently updated by Staricoff and Clift (2012) and both reviews found evidence that arts and particularly music produced psychological and physiological outcomes in hospital environments, in the clinical areas of maternity, neonatal and intensive care, children, cardiovascular conditions, surgery and pain management, lung disease and oncology. There have also been reviews of the use of the arts in dementia care (Sherratt et al 2004) and the field of mental health (Daykin et al 2008). The Staricoff review (2004) considered the outcomes on staff of arts interventions and found studies concerning job satisfaction, and the use of the arts in medical and nursing training to improve communication, empathy and understanding of patients' needs. The therapeutic effects of the arts in health care are well documented overall but there remains a gap in our understanding as to whether the introduction of cultural activities into healthcare has an impact on the interactions between staff and the patient, or on the recruitment and retention of staff.
The gap in critical reviews of the literature around the attitudes of health or social care professionals to the use of the cultural activities in clinical or therapeutic settings is important to address because establishing successful projects in health care environments is reliant on the co-operation of the staff working in these settings. Therefore the purpose of the proposed critical review is not only to update the Staricoff (2004) and Staricoff and Clift (2012) reviews but more specifically to explore health care professionals' attitudes to the use of cultural activities in clinical and therapeutic settings. The review will investigate three main areas: the perceptions of care givers on the use of the arts in enhancing the health and well-being in clinical and therapeutic settings, the impact of using the arts not only on the patient/service user but also on the healthcare professionals themselves, and whether engaging with arts activities in the workplace may have the potential to improve self-esteem and so reduce staff turnover.
The review will focus on studies published from 2004 to the present, although it may also include a selection of papers from outside this period which are relevant and significant to one of the stated areas of interest. Based on the keywords outlined in the full proposal key electronic databases and internet sites will be searched, to identify published empirical research and 'grey literature' including Medline for healthcare in general, medicine and mental health, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) and BNI (British Nursing Index) for nursing issues and the Cochrane Library for reviews on healthcare.

Planned Impact

This section is not required under the terms and conditions of the call. Please see attached case for support.


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Description What this review adds
• Further evidence that strongly attests to the positive impact of arts activities in health care.
• Different arts activities are utilised across different healthcare settings and are found to have numerous physical and psychological benefits not only to patients but also to healthcare staff.
• It was found that the evidence base remains narrow in relation to methodological approach and health care setting.
• We propose that different voices, art forms and methodologies are considered in the research on the arts in health care.
• Across the globe, healthcare professionals' perceive that the use of arts interventions within healthcare settings can have a positive impact upon patients' health and well-being.
• Taking part in activities that require collaboration improves staff/patient relationships and enhances communication.
Exploitation Route The review has been used to support a successful application to the Arts Council.
Sectors Creative Economy,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description Research Grants Programme Round 2
Amount £125,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 32328677 
Organisation Arts Council England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 09/2018
Description Addenbrookes Charitable Trust 
Organisation Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust (ACT)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The Addenbrookes Charitable Trust were awarded funding by the Dunhill Medical Trust to provide a programme of dance sessions for older people who are in-patients on the wards. We are evaluating to the impact of these sessions on the group participants and the staff working on the wards.
Collaborator Contribution ACT fund the dance classes and have facilitated access to the wards by the research team. The Programme Team and research team meet regularly to discuss the evaluation outputs and implications of the findings.
Impact Collaboration on-going no outputs yet
Start Year 2016
Description Cultural Development Office Essex County Council 
Organisation Essex County Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are working in partnership with Essex County Council on an Arts Council England funded project exploring the role of the arts in building creativity and community for older people living in residential care. As an 'arts organisation' the Cultural Development Office in ECC led on the funding application to ACE and fund the arts activities, the grant from ACE funds the research. We are their research partners conducting research on the impact arts activities provided by three different arts organisations in residential care homes. The project started in October 2016 and is due for completion September 2018.
Collaborator Contribution Essex County Council hold the grant and pay us for the research. They fund the arts activities in the care homes and identified the care homes to be part of the research. They are members of the research project steering group and attend quarterly meetings and liaise with the programme lead at ACE. They used their distribution list to send out a survey for one element of the research, and they are hosting an interim dissemination event for stakeholders in their offices.
Impact This project is currently ongoing and there are no research outputs to report as yet.
Start Year 2016
Description Art in Society Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a presentation at a conference. The subject generated lively debate during the session and results in contact with interested audience members following the conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description Panel member: Arts in Hospital Festival of Ideas 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was invited to be a panel member to discuss the role of the arts in hospitals and in the health and wellbeing of patients. The panel discussion was part of the October Festival of Ideas where members of the public can sign up to events, talks and workshops. The audience included members of the general public, post-graduate students, third sector organisations and local council members. The other four panel members included an arts organisation, an arts practitioner, and a former nurse in the local Trust and I was invited to provide a research input to the discussion. People stayed behind following the discussion and contact details were exchanged leading to potential collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016