The Arts for Health Partnership Programme in West Cork celebrated the launch of their Strategic Plan 2017-2020 at Dunmanway Community Hospital on 28 November. The inter-agency AfH Partnership Programme provides year round cultural and creative opportunities for residents of community hospitals and day care centre service users across West Cork.
Since 2005, Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, Cork and Kerry Community Healthcare, Cork Education and Training Board, and Cork County Council have worked together to realise this model programme.
The strategy was launched by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly TD who remarked, ‘We know now that we have become very successful in adding years to life in so many cases. Now the challenge is to add life to those years. This strategy to involve arts as part of the solution to many health and wellbeing issues is a most welcome development.’
The three-year strategy sets out to increase choice and accessibility within the programme, improve communications, and ensure the current quality provision is maintained. It provides an inclusive way of working that supports people living with dementia. It is estimated that there are 55,000 people in Ireland living with dementia and, in line with Ireland’s rapidly ageing population, that number is predicted to rise significantly.
‘The transition from living at home to living in a residential centre for older people is one of the most challenging life changes that any of us will experience. The Arts for Health programme in this setting provides an opportunity for self-expression and autonomy for residents which the HSE is pleased to support as part of the social model of care.’ – Gabrielle O’Keeffe, Head of Social Care, Cork and Kerry Community Healthcare.
The launch included the screening of a short film, ‘Poem Film,’ made by residents of Bantry General Hospital, St. Joseph’s Ward with artists Colm Rooney and Tess Leak during the programme.
Theresa Healy Kingston, Director of Nursing at Dunmanway Community Hospital, spoke of the programme’s impact on the hospital wards: ‘The Arts for Health Partnership Programme clearly hits its aim of enabling choice, social inclusion and equitable access to arts for older people in West Cork. It can be seen in the wards enhancing the mood of our residents, helping them socially, emotionally in their physical and mental wellbeing.’
The full strategy is available to view HERE.
To illustrate the workings of the programme, a new website has also been launched: www.artsforhealthwestcork.com
The website gives easy access to information about the events, projects, and learning opportunities that make up the Arts for Health Partnership Programme.