When evaluating how a business becomes established in the healthcare industry, one does not often consider the role art can play in its success. In most cases, state-of-the-art equipment, prime location, and a large staff of competent professionals are the primary aspects immediately attributed to success. While all those things are very much needed, a healthy and happy environment goes a long way towards benefiting the patients and workers. Clean facilities, fresh air, and natural lighting all contribute to an ideal environment, but what about art?
Art offers a touch of creativity, mental stimulation, and overall improves the quality of care provided to the patients. Although incorporation of art in the healthcare field may not seem of great significance, the art element is necessary to create the optimal environment for both patient and worker. Creating the optimal environment for any healthcare facility begins with covering the basics, but certainly does not end there. How and why art should be utilized in the healthcare environment is as important a consideration as how and why aseptic technique should be used during surgeries.
It promotes health and acts as a preventative measure towards additional complications. Hospitals, private offices, and other healthcare facilities all benefit from having art incorporated into their environments. Paintings and pictures that inspire hope, healing and a positive attitude go a long way in brightening the otherwise sterile atmosphere. For the facilities that are largely closed off to natural sunlight, fresh air and nature, landscape paintings can help remedy a colorless and bland environment. Beyond pictures and paintings, art can be a part of architecture, making the very building inspire creativity, spontaneity, and freedom.
Sculptures can achieve much of the same affect. Providing an environment with visual appeal allows for continuous mental stimulation and/or relaxation. Incorporation of water or other natural elements can produce an even more relaxing environment to help rid patients and employees of stress. As a whole, art incorporated in various healthcare environments contributes to a more dynamic and creative atmosphere. Such an atmosphere is necessary not just to provide entertainment or display financial success of businesses, but because it contributes to the overall physical and mental wellness of patients.
While many would agree that an environment with an artful element does improve the overall atmosphere, we are still left to wonder: does such an atmosphere actually serve a purpose for the patients and/or employees? The simple answer to this question is yes, an environment saturated with art most certainly does benefit both patient and employee. If a healthcare facility provides such an environment, they are providing not only aesthetic appeal, but they are also providing functional value.
Art, in any of its forms, provides relief from stress, and something for people to focus on. Whether in pain, grief, or simply stressed, art is something people can gravitate towards and often find comfort in. While many are not consciously aware of it, art in an environment does positively affect one’s outlook on current circumstances. Contrarily, an environment lacking any artistic characteristics proves a detriment to one’s mental well-being, especially when dealing with pain, grief, or stress (Stuckey and Nobel, 2010).
More specific to the patient themselves, art can provide the freedom and control they would otherwise lack. Art provides something that no amount of medical ingenuity or technology can: an experience. The freedom to interpret art however one sees fit can help a patient feel more relaxed and in control. When your life depends on medications, procedures and the consideration of medical professionals, a patient is likely to feel powerless. Giving them something to connect with can help keep them focused and optimistic.
Likewise, for those unable to journey outdoors, art can provide a connection to the outside world. The bed ridden patient may seem doomed to stay indoors forever, but art can provide them a getaway. A door that, when unlocked, leads to their own paradise where their imagination can run wild. Something more provocative than a picture of a flower ideally, but any form of art can help unlock this door. Again, why is such a consideration important? The point of the healthcare industry is to improve and maintain good health while preventing future infirmities.
Health is not simply a physical condition; it is also mental. To be healthy includes the understanding of happiness. As such, the physical health of individuals is the main focus of any medical facility, but mental/emotional/spiritual health must also be considered. Studies have been performed that demonstrate the positive influence art has on an individual’s mental wellness (Scott, 2016). Expression of self and reduction of stress through either creation or contemplation is something all facilities can appreciate.
As such, inclusion of art in the healthcare industry is paramount for providing the best environment and care possible for patient and employee. Art may not seem as important as state-of-the-art equipment, location, and a large staff of competent professionals, but art is an important aspect for a facility in the healthcare industry to consider. For the benefits art can have on patient and employee through creation of an ideal environment, it’s value is immeasurable. From reducing stress to providing a much needed connection to the outside world, art has many purposes in the healthcare industry.