Residents reap rewards of art therapy

RESIDENTS at a Limerick nursing home, 14 of whom have acquired brain injuries, yesterday held an exhibition of their art projects.

All are cared for at Killeline Nursing Home near Newcastle West and the exhibition consists of paintings, a piece of sculpture and textile work, all completed over the past few months.

Art therapist Annette McConnell has been working with residents at the nursing home over the past six months.

Annette said: “The director of nursing Marie O’Malley started this programme and asked me to come on board. I started the programme on creative art and it is art therapy rather than art classes.

“The programme is client led and it is unusual for work done in this setting to go on public exhibition as it is more private. But all those taking wanted to go public with their work and so we held the exhibition where their families and friends came and saw what had been achieved.”

She said those taking part used art to respond to their life experiences within a healthcare setting as well as their personal feelings of their illness and going through different life phases.

“It is different from art classes where those taking part set out to create something beautiful. This art therapy is not about the end result. The approach is different.”

Director of nursing Marie O’Malley said they are always looking to improve the quality of life of people at the home and the introduction of art therapy was part of this approach.

As recognition of what has been achieved, she said all the work will now go on permanent display in the coffee shop area.

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