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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Creative engagement

My Dancing Days

An elderly patient in a chair by a hospital bed is encouraged to dance by a young woman, holding his hands


This programme of visual arts and music bedside activities for patients on the John Radcliffe Hospital trauma wards was developed by visual artist Tiffany Black and dance/movement practitioner Angela Conlan.

Their work focused on working with older patients, many of whom had dementia, and could feel isolated in single rooms.

The artists' approach was to use the arts to engage with patients and find out more about their interests, musical tastes and personal stories.

A detailed evaluation was commissioned from Angeli Vaid of Oxford Arts Consultants. She found the sessions increased levels of happiness, relaxation and distraction from boredom for patients. When sessions ended staff observed a positive impact on patients in terms of a lighter mood for up to two hours afterwards.

Particular groups benefitted most - those with dementia, those needing motivation to do physiotherapy exercise, and those not connected to the wider world though visits from family and friends.

"They should have this on all the wards - it really cheers you up... I think what you are doing is wonderful - keep up the good work"

Patient comments on My Dancing Days.

Origami workshops

Young couple in a hospital room smile and hold their origami flowers


Origami workshops with patients to alleviate boredom, stress and anxiety were led by Lizzie Burns across five departments in our three Oxford hospitals, funded by The Big Lottery through Origami Pulse.

"Doing something with your hands calms your mind... I felt relaxed, distracted from my environment... made me feel so much better... took my mind off everything else... helped with endless waiting."

Patient comments on origami workshops