Bathurst Health Service program

Filed : Arts & Health, In Hospitals, Projects .

Based out of Bathurst Health Service, Arts OutWest’s Arts & Health Program was launched in 2007.

The coordination of Arts OutWest’s arts and health program has been based out of the Bathurst Health Service where our Arts and Health Coordinator has an office.
The project was initiated in partnership with Greater Western Area Health Service (now Western Local Health District) to coincide with the major 2007-2008 redevelopment of Bathurst Health Service (previously called Bathurst Base Hospital). It began as a pilot program to integrate local art into the new hospital building – not just as pictures on walls, although that is a part of it – but to develop a hospital setting that saw creativity and the arts as a tool in the wellbeing for clients and staff.

We’re now slowing extending this work to other health centres and in local health settings through the Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Strategy and projects like Spread the Word and Sweet Dreams.

Embedding art into a hospital: Where it began

In 2007 a partnership was created between Arts Outwest and the Greater Western Area Health Service (now Western Local health District) which was instigated by the redevelopment of the Bathurst Base Hospital. The Bathurst Art and Health Steering Committee was formed including representatives from GWAHS, the arts and the community.
Funding was sourced from the GWAHS redevelopment of Bathurst Hospital budget, the Australia Council for the Arts Community Partnerships and the Regional Arts Fund.
The Bathurst Art & Health Program was officially launched by Federal Member for Macquarie Bob Debus at Bathurst Health Service in March 2008.

Artist Christine McMillan was employed as coordinator of the program, with a broad role. The role included managing the commissioning of major public works, consulting with and responding to the health community, developing programs that responded to the consultation and the space, managing and hanging the collection, developing existing partnerships and creating new ones, coordinating a performance program, developing media releases and training arts workers to work in a health environment. The project was initially mentored by Marily Cintra.

Embedding art into a hospital: Consultations

In the first stages ‘a sense of place’ was developed through interviews with staff in the health service and a questionnaire. From this document ideas for projects were developed to help satisfy the needs of the health community and to help the local community feel part of the health service.
Staff have been interviewed and surveyed at various points in the project as part of the evaluation process.

Embedding art into a hospital: Evaluation and statistics

Processes of evaluation have been built into the program over time.

  1. At the end of 2009, 90% of the program’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been met, with 3 KPIs ongoing and 1 no longer relevant.
  2. 2009 saw a strengthening of existing partnerships plus an 80% increase in new partnerships.
  3. At workshops with art and health workers to develop skills and capacity, 89% of participants subsequently felt more confident in working in an arts and health environment.
  4. People were asked if the Arts and Health Program ‘makes a positive difference to the Health Service’ – 68% strongly agreed, 30% agreed, 2% disagreed.
  5. Feedback on the art and health program has been very positive with staff and patients commenting on the difference the Art and Health program has made to their environment. Community members have proudly identified their attachment to and knowledge of the local works on display.

Funding partners

The Art & Health Program has involved local partners and stakeholders across health services and the arts.

  • NSW Government through Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (2012-2013)
  • Australian Government through the Department of Health and Ageing (2012-2013)
  • Greater Western Art Health Service (2008-2009)
  • Regional Arts Fund (2008)
  • Australia Council for the Arts (2008-2009)
  • Arts OutWest (2008-2013)
  • Thyne Reid Foundation (2010-2011)

Funding for specific components from:

  • Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Strategy (AMIHS)
  • Program of Excellence in the Palliative Care Experience (PEPA) NSW
  • Accessible Arts (International Day of People with a Disability)
  • Arts NSW and the NSW Department of Ageing Disability and Home Care (Sweet Dreams)

Other active partners in delivering the program:

  • Bathurst Health Council
  • Local schools
  • Mitchell Conservatorium of Music
  • Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre’s Local Stage Program
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Central West Acquired Brain Injury Action Group
  • Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
  • Bathurst Theatre Company
  • Headspace
  • International Friendship Group of Bathurst