St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas
A qualitative study was undertaken on the art cart program in St. Luke’s, one of the oldest art cart programs in hospitals in 2006. The Auxiliary is in charge of the program where volunteers visit all patient rooms once in two weeks to give them a choice of artwork to be placed on the walls. During the study researchers evaluated the logistics of undertaking an art cart program, the response from patients, and how art became a facilitator of conversation between the patient and the volunteer, impacting the impression of “care” by the St. Luke’s system. Overall the art cart program served as an excellent means of providing a supportive environment for patients by providing a positive distraction, a sense of control and social support.
Presented at Healthcare Design Conference 2006 and 2007
Published in Healthcare Design Magazine–September 2007
A more in-depth and multi-method study was then undertaken to evaluate the artwork preferred by patients in the hospital room. A survey with seventeen pictures was developed which contained seven best-selling pictures from three independent art vendors, seven counter images with evidence-based elements, and three images that followed principles derived from prior evidence, as well as what was seen in the art cart observation. Sixty-seven respondents took this survey. Respondents were patients in the hospital rooms with a period of stay varying from two to fourteen days. As they gave their responses to questions about feelings, and preferences, they also made comments about the paintings that were recorded. The survey results yielded statistically significant results for the popularity of nature images, over best-selling abstract/ unique images. The study also showed a preference for landscapes over figurative art, or art containing animals. An analysis comparing the popular art images with the less famous, but less ambiguous and more positive images also showed statistically significant results, biased towards the latter. In fact, simple nature scenes were preferred to the Van Gogh and the Chagall.
Presented in Healthcare Design Conference 2007
Published in Environment and Behavior Journal–March 2008