Tallaght University Hospital has a longstanding arts programme running in the hospital, led by the National Centre for Arts and Health. When Covid-19 restrictions came into place, the arts team diversified, designing participative and receptive activities for the programme that could still reach out to patients and staff.
A series of art packs for patients called ARTS4ALL has been designed and produced with the hope of encouraging creativity, self-expression and alleviating boredom at this difficult time. The art packs offer a choice of activities from colouring to weaving, crafting to sewing; catering for all levels and abilities. This initiative is supported by the Meath Foundation and Adelaide Health Foundation. Patients are encouraged to share images of their finished projects and include a few words saying what they enjoyed about the activity by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the music programme, Arts Officer Alison Baker Kerrigan worked with Clara Monahan, the Music Therapist in the Hospital’s Age Related service, to create Sing with Me, a series of acoustic music videos performed by Clara, and Relax with Me, music-inspired relaxation and visualisation videos. Both video series combine an invitation to access musical opportunities in a receptive or participative format whilst supporting the health and wellbeing of patients and staff.
A third video series is also in the making: Guided Meditations for Healthcare Staff, specifically focusing on themes that will assist staff at this time including ‘Preparing and Grounding yourself before work’, ‘Self-Care as a Health Professional’ and ‘Winding-Down Methods for after work’.
Heartbeats-TUH Choir were faced with the challenge of ensuring members stayed engaged and in touch with each other. Thanks to Michael Fay, the Choir Director, choir rehearsals have been transformed into an online format. Virtual choir rehearsals are up and running on Tuesday evenings, with choir members logging on to sing, learn a new musical skill and have a good auld chat afterwards too. The experience has brought about change, resourcefulness and adaptability to learn new skills. Michael noted that above all this has ‘highlighted the importance of connection. While the usual culmination for a choir is in the form of a concert, although important, it’s the process between the group of people that is actually the most important factor.’
The Sing While You Can Singers were formed in November 2019 as a collaboration between the Arts Department and Pastoral Care. A casual singing group made up of a wide cross-section of TUH staff is brought together under the musical direction of Clara Monahan. They all have one thing in common – they love to sing! The casual format is perfect for staff who wish to experience group singing with their colleagues without committing to a choir; although many of the singers do both. The singers meet and rehearse a song followed by a performance – all within 40 minutes. The group recently came together for a special event in the Phoenix Restaurant to celebrate International Day of the Nurse and the Midwife on 12 May. Adhering to physical distancing measures, they performed a number of feel-good, uplifting songs which you can watch here.
Updated 16 May