All of Us project inspires art therapy

The Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital NHS Trust, one of the largest cardiothoracic centres in Europe, is seeking to introduce further interactive design projects across the hospital to improve the experience of patients, following the completion of it

The Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital NHS Trust, one of the largest cardiothoracic centres in Europe, is seeking to introduce further interactive design projects across the hospital to improve the experience of patients, following the completion of its first installation by All of Us.

The push to integrate digital interactive activities throughout the hospital depends on the appropriate funding being generated and will follow a test period of the All of Us installation, which is located at Harefield Hospital.

Victoria Hume, arts manager of the trust’s charitable arts organisation Rb&hArts, wants to introduce interactive activities into the hospital’s wards where patients undergo day surgery. ‘I would like to roll out work like this to other spaces in the hospital, finding creative solutions to the practical issues of being in hospital,’ says Hume. It is likely that All of Us will be appointed to any forthcoming projects.

The initial installation created by All of Us is at Harefield’s cardiac theatre waiting area, a zone where patients spend time before they undergo surgery. The design comprises a series of textured wood panels and digital animations projected on to the wall, which show landscapes and natural phenomena, such as floating pollen, woodland scenes and birds. Patients are able to use an interactive ‘wand’ to change the scenes, enabling them to create virtual water ripples or breezes.

All of Us has also designed a series of light boxes featuring cut-outs. Visible medical equipment has been hidden using a series of screens and bespoke furniture.

‘It is a very anxious moment for patients when they are in this room. The installation has a sedative and soothing effect, it is quite hypnotic. If you are relaxed before an operation, it can improve your recovery time,’ says Hume.

All of Us began working on the project two years ago, with a commission to review the cardiac suite and look at ways to reduce patient anxiety levels across the ward, waiting rooms, anaesthesia, operating theatre and recovery rooms (DW 11 November 2004).

The installation launches on 19 September as part of the London Design Festival. A satellite exhibition of the installation will be on show at the Royal Brompton Hospital from 23 to 30 September. The project has been funded by charitable sources.

The trust is also undertaking a series of arts-led programmes led by Rb&hArts. Photographer Tim Wainwright and sound designer John Wynne are to create an exhibition launching next summer on heart and lung transplants to ‘explode a few myths about transplantation,’ says Hume.

Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital NHS Trust:

• Additional interactive installations likely

• First installation, designed by All of Us, launches 19 September

• Managed by Royal Brompton and Harefield Arts

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