Thursday 9 October 2014, 20:16 | By

In the news October 2014 – Creative arts therapy groups should receive more funding

CSL In The News

We’ve been Tweeting about some significant news items this month relating to palliative care, mHealth and creative arts therapies. We flag these up on a daily basis, so do follow us on Twitter, and here’s a roundup of a few of the most interesting stories that captured our imagination:

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INQUIRY STATES CREATIVE ARTS THERAPY GROUPS SHOULD RECEIVE MORE FUNDING

A recent inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wellbeing Economics states arts groups that offer participatory activities, such as singing or dance workshops should receive more funding because they can increase wellbeing. As reported by the The Stage, the inquiry also recommends that cultural activities should be promoted to deprived communities, especially in these times of austerity.

The Group is chaired by former culture minister David Lammy who says: “As we show throughout this report, wellbeing evidence can not only help target public spending more effectively at improving people’s lives, but in many cases has the potential to deliver significant long-term savings by reducing demand on public services.”

News of this inquiry comes in the same month as we pointed to an article in Citizen Times, explaining how children and young people in North Carolina participating in an art therapy programme called Art for Life find it helps them deal with the stress associated with chemo. The article explains that the non-profit project is running short of funding which only serves to echo the findings of the aforementioned UK parliamentary inquiry and reflects the need for creative therapy to be treated more seriously by funding bodies in the UK and Europe.

We also spotted an upbeat article on eHospice.com which outlines the benefits of art therapy for end-of-life care in Scotland. The ArtWorks exhibition formed part of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care Conference and displayed paintings, drawings, sculptures and textiles created by people involved with various art therapy groups in hospices in Scotland. You can see some of the inspiring works here.

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PALLIATIVE CARE CAN REDUCE NHS HOSPITALISATION COSTS BY £500 PER PERSON

Consistent with the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wellbeing Economics, eHopsice.com reveals that the NHS could save £500 on hospitalisation costs for each person who receives palliative end of life care, according to a report commissioned by our friends at Marie Curie.

The article quotes Simon Chapman, Director of Public and Parliamentary Engagement at the National Council for Palliative Care, who provides an excellent summary: “This important report provides further evidence that what we need now is a reinvestment in end of life care services, away from hospitals into the community so that unnecessary hospital admissions are avoided and stays in hospital aren’t prolonged because of a lack of support outside. This would not only enable more dying people to have their wishes met, but could also potentially save money by reducing pressures on already stretched hospitals.”

While it is important to take account of the cost implications of palliative care, we would like to draw your attention to an award-winning collection of powerful short stories and poems written by people who are facing end of life scenarios, called ‘Final Chapters: writings about the end of life’, as reported by eHospice.com. The book has recently won the gold award for the Grief/Death and Dying category of the 2014 Living Now Book Awards, and while it may be a challenging subject to digest, the book provides amazing examples of humour and bravery too.

Alex James, founder of Bereavement.co.uk, said of the stories: “Some are uplifting and inspirational while others left me thinking why and wanting to run with my soap box to the nearest street corner and draw to public attention the true state of care for our elderly and lack of support for those facing dementia and terminal illness.” So, a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in palliative care.

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HOW CAN MHEALTH BE USED IN HEALTHCARE?

With the benefits of palliative care and creative arts therapies outlined above, let’s move on to consider how the thriving mHealth market can play a part in this movement towards a person-centered care programme. A recent article by mHealthNews lists ten critical mobile applications for healthcare providers, with a view to bringing all services under a “single, secure and manageable technology umbrella that is more cost efficient with improved internal integrity.”

While the list isn’t rocket science or particularly revolutionary (it includes email, quality data capture, electronic medical records and texting), there are obvious advantages of an umbrella system being accessed by healthcare professionals in hospitals and community-based palliative care outlets too. Creating just one secure system that serves all functions will be the challenge though, so it’ll be interesting to see how these mobile applications will be utilised in the future.

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