University of Limerick
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The aesthetic and cultural interests of patients attending an acute hospital a phenomenological study

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-11-28, 16:33 authored by Hilary MossHilary Moss, Desmond O'Neill
Aim To describe the aesthetic and cultural pursuits of older patients in hospital. Background Although there is much discussion of the importance of arts1 in health, little is known about the salience of aesthetic and cultural pursuits of hospital patients. Design A qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological study (Van Manen, 1990) examined artistic and cultural interests and experiences of older hospital patients and their perceptions of aesthetics of hospital. Methods A phenomenological study (Van Manen) was carried out in 2011, using purposeful sampling with twenty in-patients aged over 65, ten with experience of hospital arts programme. Patients were selected from the geriatric medicine day hospital of a university teaching hospital. Results Seven themes identified: loss and the impact of illness on leisure activities; patients’ interests and passions; a lack of expectation of arts in hospital; the positive impact of arts in hospital for those who had experienced them; varying preference between receptive and participative arts activities according to phase of illness; negative aesthetic aspects of the hospital experience; recommendations for changes to improve arts in hospital. Conclusions Aesthetic and cultural interests are important in the lives of older patients admitted to hospital. Illness can create barriers to artistic engagement. Participation in arts activities may be more important during recovery and rehabilitation, with receptive arts being more popular during the acute phase of illness in hospital. Further research recommended on the role of the aesthetic environment for patients’ health and well-being as well as receptive arts in hospital.



Journal of Advanced Nursing;70 (1), pp. 121-9


Wiley and Sons




This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: “The aesthetic and cultural interests of patients attending an acute hospital – a phenomenological study”which has been published in final form in Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2014, 70 (1), pp. 121-9 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.



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