Arts and Healthcare

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Nearly half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and staff. 80% provide these programs because they benefit patients and create a healing environment.

Graph of why Healthcare Institutions invest in the arts
Graph of why Healthcare Institutions invest in the arts
  • A 2007 national survey about arts programs in healthcare institutions conducted by The
    Joint Commission—which accredits the nation’s 22,000 hospitals and healthcare entities—
    showed that nearly half (49%) have active arts programs, and all indicators point to a larger
    percentage today. When hospital administrators were asked, “Why the arts?” chief among
    the responses were that they aid in the mental and emotional recovery of patients (80%) as
    well as their physical recovery (41%).
  • Many programs extend beyond the patients to strengthen the entire healing system: 80%
    serve patients directly, 58% include the patient’s family, and 42% are for staff to help them
    deal with workplace stress. Arts programs in hospitals have even been shown to reduce
    nursing staff turnover.
  • A landmark study published in The Gerontologist revealed that weekly arts participation
    (singing in a choral group) by persons aged 65 and older resulted in better physical and
    mental health, fewer doctor visits, and less medication usage than the study’s non-singing
    control group. In fact, comparing just medication use and doctor visits, the individuals who
    sang in the chorus had an annual savings of $172.91 per year, per participant. Incorporating
    the arts into elder care can add up to huge savings for Medicare, private insurers, and
  • In addition to humanizing the hospital environment, there is a growing body of research
    that demonstrates the economic benefits of arts in healthcare programs, including shorter
    hospital stays, less medication, and fewer doctor visits.

Source: Americans for the Arts, 2021.