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20th April 2019 Latest News

Providing Art Therapy to Improve Patient Care


Art Therapy helping patients with end-stage kidney disease

Art therapy and creative expression are being used as a form of therapy for chronically ill patients and it’s already having positive effects on patients with end-stage kidney disease undergoing dialysis.

The CNARTS (Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service) Clinical Research Group at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) has teamed up with the Centre for Creative Health (CCH) for a project focused on enhancing patient care through diverse creative initiatives.

CCH is located within the RAH and provides best-practice arts and design programs, projects and therapies within the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, benefitting patients within the hospital.

Dr Lisa Shanahan said the project aims to enhance the illness experience and care of kidney disease patients. The team completed a pilot study last year and realised art therapy was just one of the ways to help with patients’ quality of life when on dialysis.

“After the pilot we surveyed patients and we discovered people wanted more diversional activities besides art therapy. Some patients wanted to learn English, others wanted to continue their studies and some even began writing their life stories for their grandchildren,” Dr Shanahan said.

“The idea is to understand what patients are looking for and ultimately improve their quality of life while on dialysis.”

The team is also keen to start working with country patients to improve the continuity of their illness journey through transferable activities and by using these activities to enhance the quality of communication between city and rural hospitals.

Dr Richard Le Leu said the response from patients and staff has been overwhelming.

“People are enjoying this program and from the survey they have even suggested other ideas to improve the quality of their care while receiving dialysis,” Dr Le Leu said.

“Ultimately we want to hear from the patients themselves and focus on supporting them and providing quality patient care in such a difficult time in their lives.”

Did you know?

Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia is a charitable affiliate of The Hospital Research Foundation Group, as well as the Centre for Creative Health. Together, we can continue improving the quality of patient care for all South Australians.