Gallery visits helping neuro-rehab patients with their recovery
25 October 2017
The quarterly trips, organised by Imperial Health Charity, give patients experiences they might otherwise miss, help them to socialise and keep their minds active.
A recent visit to the Royal Academy of Arts included a guided tour of the Jasper Johns retrospective and a group discussion about what they’d seen.
Pippa Kirby, a Speech and Language Therapist in the neuro-rehab unit at Charing Cross, believes that the visits make a huge difference:
“One patient who came has very severe cognitive problems. She generally finds it very hard to engage in any task or activity for longer than about 15 minutes and generally in conversation gets distracted and can’t stay on topic.”
“However, at the RA she was absolutely captivated. She loved the paintings. She gave her opinion on them, compared them, asked to see some of them a second time. I’ve never seen her so engaged with something.”
Patients in the unit can suffer from a wide range of neurological conditions, including stroke, brain tumours and multiple sclerosis and often have lengthy stays which can leave them feeling lonely and, in some cases, delirious. The accessible visits provide a change of scenery and can leave a lasting impression.
“It’s this kind of activity which really enriches people’s experience of rehab, lifts their mood, and helps them feel more optimistic about the future. We very much hope to have many more similar trips in future.”
Mariko, a patient in the unit, echoed Pippa’s praise, saying: “I love going to galleries but because of my health I have difficulty moving. I really enjoyed it and it’s very inspirational that the hospital patients now have the opportunity to visit. I really want to do it again!”
Another patient said: “I thought the curators who took us around were very good. Jasper Johns is not an easy artist to understand so having someone who could reveal what was going on was tremendous. Everybody I’ve told that we had this opportunity said how very fortunate we were.”
The initiative is one of many arts projects that the charity has supported to benefit patients including craft workshops for dementia patients, art therapy for stroke patients and art workshops for those undergoing dialysis.
For more information about our engagement programme, click here.