what the patients say
'Warm hearted people who are clearly passionate about creating a healing space for all cancer patients here at the Freeman. Their presence hits you from the moment you enter with colourful co-created artwork that feels like a gentle embrace and a shot of energy! A service with a big heart!'
Patient, March 2017
“I’ve started to look forward to my Fridays on Ward 10. It sounds a bit strange but its true – it’s a social outing for me as well. And to be able to participate in some of the artwork; the materials they bring in are always so nice and fresh.
The atmosphere in the ward is so positive and bright – some days it’s like we’re having a party in there.”
Patient in ward 10, 2019
Art and the experience of cancer
'Cancer treatment is a hard thing to go through. It is alienating, scary and can be impersonal. All the treatments involve waiting – patients have to learn to become very ‘patient’ in a time of high anxiety. Waiting areas are often bare and institutional, quiet places. None of this alleviates the dread often felt before a session under a terrifying radiotherapy machine, where people may feel claustrophobic or worse, or when embarking on a series of chemotherapy treatments, which may make you feel increasingly ill and cause hair loss, so each visit can feel harder than the last.' Patient (NCCC).
What the healthcare staff say
"The arts service is a vital non medical part of recovery and treatment for our cancer patients… The staff within the department value and acknowledge the vital contribution the arts team make to cancer services at NCCC."
Matron - NCCT
"I feel that the project is a very valuable contribution towards our patient care. Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis to many and the option to work gently with your hands at various crafts does lessen the stress as well as passing long periods of time in the company of the arts team. Communication is certainly not just a by product of the craft work. I have often witnessed vulnerable patients being comforted by the team and others enjoying a chat."
“The Room for You service brings together a need for psychological support and support for patients and carers alike. Originally when I was approached, I needed a bit of convincing and I was quite opposed to it because of the thought of having an art project on the ward when we were trying to give treatment in a clinical area – but actually they proved me wrong.
They’ve slotted into the way we work and they are very discreet about the way that they work. I feel that they support the team, especially on the days they come when its particularly busy. I think they are adept at opening the conversation with patients and carers, and the art is an excellent opener. They are very good at giving patients something else to think about which helps with the anxiety round the whole visit to the chemo day unit as well as the forthcoming treatment. They have embedded themselves within the team. They are part of the team and part of the care that we give. If I had my way they would be here more than once a week.”
Michelle Hughes, Chemotherapy Services Manager, Queen Elizabeth Hospital
“The activities that Room for You provide add to our holistic assessment of the patient. Not only does it help deal with them as a person, some people find the activities very therapeutic and it also gives us a known pharmacological way of dealing with their potential anxieties. Sometimes people just want things to do, it makes them feel more relaxed and then they can open up more. There is no doubt that this opens up channel that will definitely benefit the patient.”
Paul Coulter – Consultant, St Bede’s Palliative Care Unit, QE