I have just spent two days in a busy NHS clinic that treats young people with a variety of mental illnesses. You might think that painting murals in a hospital would perhaps feel superfluous in the current climate, but the reality is very different and the staff and patients were unanimous in wanting more of this type of art on site. So why do hand-painted murals have a positive impact on hospital environments?
St. Andrews Healthcare, Northampton
Firstly they create a calming atmosphere in a hospital environment, which can help patients and visitors feel more relaxed and less anxious. Research shows that calmer patients are more responsive to treatment and heal faster; murals can play an important role in reducing stress at an otherwise stressful time.
Detract from pain
Murals can also serve as a distraction for patients who are undergoing painful medical procedures or treatments. They can provide a focal point for the patient, distracting them from their discomfort by giving them a positive view to focus on. Wall art of any kind will also serve as a distraction from the sterile and clinical environment of a hospital, this is particularly important for children.
A hospital environment can be a stressful place for patients, visitors, and healthcare workers. Hand-painted murals can help to boost morale and create a more positive atmosphere for everyone in the hospital, not just the patients. Staff aften say to me that looking at the murals I paint makes them smile, whatever else is going on that day. This is especially important when patients are likely to be staying in the hospital environment for a prolonged period.
Hand-painted murals can enhance the aesthetics of a hospital environment and make it more visually appealing. Looking at white walls all day can have a terribly negative affect on us psychologically, ranging from boredom and anxiety to anger and even depression. Introducing colourful artwork can help to create a more welcoming and inviting space for patients, staff and visitors, promoting healing and wellbeing.
Parkview Clinic, Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Murals can be designed to incorporate themes that promote healing, such as nature scenes or inspirational quotes. This can help to create a more positive mindset for patients and encourage them to focus on their recovery.
Murals can be varnished with anti-bacterial glazes to help with infection control and make them easy to keep clean. Canvas art collects dust, making it more prone attracting bacteria and stickers are printed plastic, which have a high VOC (volatile organic compounds, the nasties in inks and paints), meaning they adversely affect air quality. Mural paint and the glaze I recommend are all water based and have very low VOC levels, they are also kinder to the environment to produce.
Wherever possible, I try to get the staff and/or patients involved in the design of the mural, so that they get to see something that has a positive effect on them. The collaborative nature of this type of work is something that I am very experienced with and love working with others to create positive, uplifting interiors.
Overall, hand-painted murals can help to create a more constructive and welcoming hospital environment, which can have a significant impact on the well-being of patients, visitors, and healthcare workers alike.