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Exeter Healthcare Arts - Capital schemes

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Photo of benchCentral to each capital scheme, be it seating, interior improvements or art and landscape, is the patient, visitor and hospital staff.  Each project has consultation and research at its core.  To enable new commissions for public seating to be appropriate for patients, careful research was undertaken with occupational physiotherapists.  This determined optimum seat heights and, where appropriate, positioning of arm rests and correct angle of back.  Working within those technical parameters artists and makers are encouraged to consider hospital users’ aesthetic and psychological needs.


Nigel Ross shows this in the carved oak bench, photo above left, where a piece of the countryside has been brought to the busy hospital, aiming to reassure people from the rural areas of Devon.Photo of scales bench


The subtle use of images drawn from pictures of hearts and lungs embossed on Rod Harris’ brick bench may remind one of the need to look after the respiratory system.  Artists do not seek to lecture hospital users but to inform and entertain.  Wit and humour are at the forefront of Paul Spooner’s Keep Fit machine and Jon Rodney-Jones uses fairground-like imagery in his Balanced Diet seat, photo right.


Photo of PEOC benchesThe need for busy staff and recovering patients to have access to fresh air and the sound of birdsong has been recognised. A number of courtyards now provide havens. The courtyard designed and built for the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre has set the benchmark for these developments, photo left. Partnership and collaboration with the eventual users was key to the design process.  The Rathbone Partnership, working with furniture-maker Walter Jack, consulted widely and worked closely with a number of hospital staff, former patients and co-funders.  Their work, along with that of water sculptor Simon Percival, has created a contemporary “cottage” garden, which is much greater than the sum of its parts. Photo of alphabet box


Support for patients under going day-case procedures has been provided by artworks on which they can focus and gain distraction from treatments.  Children and parents attending outpatient appointments are entertained by Tony Mann’s alphabet boxes, photo right , a fitting celebration of the life of the late Dr Freddie Brimblecombe, the much loved and respected consultant paediatrician.  The artist returned to work on the lottery funded programme to provide a safe haven for children as they wait in an otherwise busy area of the hospital.


Photo of a photoThe art of the photographer has been used in schemes to bring the ward environments closer to the needs of the patients treated in them.  In Tavy ward, which serves older patients with orthopaedic conditions, Chris Chapman has produced a photographic essay to celebrate a positive image of ageing, photo left .  Elsewhere, Roger Polley has worked closely with staff to produce a work some thirty feet in length exploring the course of the river from which Lyme Ward gets its name.EHCA logo


The display of loaned works and the changing exhibitions add interest for hospital users as well as bring a direct healthcare benefit. Our clinical colleagues report that patients preparing or recovering from treatments and procedures are often encouraged to tour the corridors to reduce stress before and to regain mobility as they recover following treatments.