art and healing

Hospital Marketing: Healing is Both Science and Art

Art can speed a patient’s healing process    Palette.

Hospitals spend millions on the latest technology to help heal patients. Great emphasis is placed on best practices to improve outcomes, and rightfully so. Hospitals should provide the best technology possible and strictly allow best practice guidelines to help patients get well as soon as possible.

But recent research shows that the right art on hospital walls can speed up the healing process. Upali Nanda, who has a doctorate in architecture with a specialization in healthcare systems states, “Scientific studies show that art can aid in the recovery of patients, shorten hospital staffs, and help manage pain.” 

Nanda conducted a study at Houston’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital using two types of art. They compared images, which had been proven to calm patients, including green landscapes, water scenes, architecture, and emotionally expressive pictures of people. In the second group, abstract art was used. The results showed that art depicting familiar, calming scenes were effective helping patients, but abstract art was not nearly as effective.

Nanda says, “One theory is that abstract art allows patients to project their own anxieties onto the image, and thus pictures that clearly portray pleasant images are more soothing.”

Based on these findings, hospitals should take great care in using art on the hospital wall and in hospital rooms.  And they should take care determining the type of art displayed. . Rather than modern or abstract art, realistic, familiar and appealing art scenes should be used because they help the healing process.

Healing is a science, but now we know it is also art.


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