Wall Art helps build hope and resilience at Starship Hospital

“Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by colour, and light, we do know this: that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery.” Florence Nightingale

Wise words from the founder of modern nursing back in 1859. Today, the idea that art can impact on patient care is even more relevant as hospitals work hard to increase positive clinical outcomes.

You needn’t look far to find international studies showing that purposeful wall art can help to reduce anxiety, perception of pain and the need for sedation, and lead to shorter hospital stays – not to mention, a boost in staff job satisfaction.

Grafix Wall Art is excited about the therapeutic value of art installations and has previously teamed up with Waitemat? District Health Board and aged care provider Oceania on projects that support this concept. So when Starship hospital’s Child and Family Unit asked us to produce and install wall art in its high care unit, we were absolutely thrilled to help. It’s such a privilege to create something that not only adds colour and character to a room, but has the potential to improve a patient’s wellbeing.

Pauline McKay, Service Clinical Director for the Child and Family Unit, says, “We secured a grant via the Starship Foundation to make cosmetic changes to CFU’s high care area, primarily to brighten up an environment where people who are very unwell spend a considerable amount of time.’’

Grafix Wall Art was commissioned to supply and install murals, along with quotes and proverbs, in three of the High Dependency Unit rooms. The murals depict scenes of nature and are custom printed on Avery WallArt vinyl to provide sharp, vivid colour and a lasting, hard wearing finish.

“The wall art has created a theme to the rooms – prior to that they were plain white walls,’’ says Pauline. “The feature walls in two of the rooms are of [Auckland beaches] Piha and Muriwai, while in the other there’s a forest scene. The murals are very grounding as they focus on being connected to nature and help to create spaces that are calm and soothing.’’

A series of quotes also feature throughout the spaces. To make the words and letters really stand out on the walls, the Grafix team used 3D computer-cut coloured PVC letters. The quote installations are not only eye-catching, but are designed to be robust and adhere securely to the wall.

“’The words on the walls were all hand selected to be meaningful and relevant to the context of the unit,’’ says Pauline. “The service supports over 350 people from the upper North Island every year. Having positive affirmations and pictures on the walls helps to promote conversations about hope and resiliency. We have also used M?ori proverbs and words to be more respectful to our M?ori youth.’’

Pauline says the feedback from staff, patients and their wh?nau has been “very positive”. “People really love the M?ori sayings.”

Hospitals are busy places and privacy is a priority for patients and visitors. they serve. Keeping this in mind, Pauline says the team from Grafix Wall Art were “incredibly flexible” with time frames and carried out the work during the unit’s quieter times of the day.

Our team really enjoyed working on this project. We were given a precise scope to work within, produced what the team at Starship wanted, and were rewarded with positive commentary from both staff and patients alike.