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23 October 2023

Art therapy proving a masterstroke

Art therapy proving a masterstroke

A St Michael’s-led project bringing art therapy into care homes is proving a masterstroke.

Sue Wilkie has helped introduce art therapy to a number of residents at Gwen Walford Nursing Home in Hereford, with plans to extend the scheme to other residential settings across the community.

The initial one-year Care Home Art Therapy project has been made possible thanks to two key grants secured by St Michael’s – from the Mumford Memorial Trust, and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

“We’re already seeing positive results from this, and it’s all thanks to St Michael’s Hospice that it’s happening,” said Sue, who successfully completed an art therapy placement at St Michael’s last year.

“It’s about working with people to give them the opportunity to express a whole range of emotions, including distress. Art therapy also enables people to work on their own mental health.”

“We focus very much on the time spent together doing it, rather than the end result.”

Sue has worked closely with Karen Rees, St Michael’s Care Home Sister, to establish the Care Home Art Therapy project, and identify people who might benefit. The courses are in six-week blocks.

“Whilst on placement at St Michael’s, we decided to develop the idea of bringing palliative art therapy into residential homes – and I’m so glad we’ve done it,” added Sue. “It’s so rewarding for those taking part, but also for me.”

“Today, I literally gave some residents a blank canvas to paint whatever they wish. Each person has done something different which means each person is giving themselves an opportunity to reconnect with themselves, either cognitively or emotionally. So, everything about the project is positive.”

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