Arts programme for elderly patients to continue for another three years

A groundbreaking arts programme which works with hospital patients and day-care centre residents across West Cork is set to continue for another three years, it was announced yesterday.

The people behind the Arts for Health Partnership Programme West Cork gave a commitment to maintain the project’s current level of service as they launched a three-year strategy 2013–2016.

The programme is expected to work with up to 400 people in 11 healthcare settings each year.

Piloted in 2002, the project sees professional artists going into hospitals and day-care centres across the West Cork region to work on various music, art and theatre projects with elderly patients and residents.

It was implemented in five hospitals in 2005, expanded in 2007 to include Bantry General Hospital, and expanded again in 2010 to include five day-care centres.

Today, the programme is available in the community hospitals in Skibbereen, Schull, Dunmanway, Clonakilty and Castletownbere; five day-care centres in Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Clonakilty, Castletownbere and Bantry, and in Bantry General Hospital’s Care of the Elderly unit.

One elderly man said the music and art in his day-care centre brings joy and laughter to the place.

Another lady said getting involved in art helps pass the time.

A spokeswoman for the project said: “The programme brings a new element to the daily lives of residents and this has a positive impact on our residents’ wellbeing and mood, which can improve their overall health.”

The project, which is overseen by the West Cork Arts Centre (WCAC), involves a partnership between the WCAC, the Cork Education Training Board, the HSE and Cork County Council.

This inter-agency model of practice provides opportunities for quality engagement in the arts by older people in residential and other healthcare settings.

The strategy was officially launched yesterday at Clonakilty Community Hospital by guest speaker Gabrielle O’Keefe, general manager, HSE Cork.

The spokeswoman for the project said Art for Health’s three-year strategy marks the partnership’s commitment to a planned and sustainable response to an ageing population, which enables choice, social inclusion and equitable access to arts for older people in West Cork.


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