Creativity for Patients – using creative interventions…


Remember seeing the presidental finger puppets a few posts ago?  Well, this is whobamao won, and what he represents is CHANGE.  Change from bi-partianship to partisanship, change from doing the same ‘ol same ‘ol, change from the old way of governing to a new way, change from stagnation to hopeful, change from old and outdated attitudes to new, open and inspiring viewpoints and ideas.

I HOPE this mantra of CHANGE ripples into healthcare.  In particular, about implementing creative interventions directly into patient care, so that, it becomes part of standardized nursing care.  Creative nursing interventions addresses the multi-dimensionality of being human, i.e., body-mind-spirit-emotion levels.  Each level or system are interrelated and communicate simultaneouly, so that, what affects one system has an effect on the other three. 

Engaging in the creative process (art-making, music, dance, handcrafted items, and so on) is an effective, non-invasive intervention that can assist nurses in creating a healing environment to promote health and well-being.  Caring for and about patients goes well beyond the physical, and encompasses emotional and spiritual health as well. 

Please read again ‘The Science Supporting Creativity’ listed under TOPICS located in the left sidebar.

Creativity for Patients – Using Creative Interventions in Patient Care

Rosalie Pratt studied the use of three arts/creative interventions (art, dance, music) on patients with brain injury, cognitive dysfunction, pain, and musculoskeletal injuries. The findings indicate that creative interventions are benefical to all patients, no matter what the diagnosis. (1) 

Note: Pratt uses ‘arts’ interventions, but I have taken the liberty to change  ‘arts’ to creative interventions.  Why?  Because I believe that everyone is creative, but not everyone is artistic.  One of my favorite definitions on creativity is by David Bohm, and he states, “Creativity is fundamental to human experience…the creative impulse is instinctive to everyone.” (2)

Below are the findings of the study:

On Art-Makinng: 

  • Brain injury: creative interventions improves attention, concentration, memory and organization.  This translates into using art, dance and music in clinical practice for evaluating and treatment physical and cognitive deficits. 
  • Dementia: art-making may indicate the presence of psychosis or organic brainsuzanne damage.  It (art-making) provides structured activities for patients to cope and express themselves when language is difficult or diminished.
  • Cardiovascular accident (CVA), aka, stroke: art-making helps exercise the visual and motor functioning for these patients.  Clay was found especially helpful  with CVA and neck fractures in combining sensorimotor activities of the upper limbs with social interaction.
  • Depression: pre-evaluations questionaires showed depressive symptoms improved significantly on post-evaluations.
  • Pain management: art-making was found to be effective in hospice, burn, and chronic pain patients.
  • Pediatrics: making art is helpful for small people who are unable or unwilling to talk about themselves in discussion groups (applicable to adults too!)
  • Immunosuppressed disorders: participating in creative activities was found to alter suffering from the illness by a change in imagery and style used in paintings and other creative work.
  • AIDS: engaging in the creative process revealed each patients’ stage of illness, personality style, previous life experiences.  The artwork produced by these patients showed the anger, confusion, depression and stigmatization that often accompanies HIV.

On Music:

Note: the above painting is a first-time painting by a Creativity participant.


music-notes1Musical interventions was found to be particularly helpful in severe brain injuried patients emerge from comas. (1)  Music slowed heart rate, helped with orienting to sounds, and singing songs helped the voice to recover.  It (music) improved mood and social interaction among patients with brain injury and stroke.

In patients diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder), Instrumental music (absence of voices) was found to significantly decrease target behaviors, such as inattention, impulsivity and improve social skills.

Another article on the effectiveness of listening to music showed pain and anxiety levels diminished, vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate and respirations) decreased, and patients experienced greater relaxationmusic-notes1 and enhanced overall well-being. (3)

Although, I am using only two studies on the effects of music on patients in this post, there is plenty of research on the benefits of music available to those interested in studying it further.

If you’d like the references, please email me at

Now, I leave you with a quote by Einstein..

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery.  There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and don’t know how or when.”


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One response to “Creativity for Patients – using creative interventions…

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