Poetry programme brings together Manchester NHS staff and patients

Poetry programme brings together Manchester NHS staff and patients

Our Home from Home exhibition tours Manchester community wards this spring. The exhibition tells the story of people’s recovery journey from hospital to home and explores the working lives of NHS staff providing care at Manchester Local Care Organisation’s Intermediate Care and NHS Continuing Care Centres. The story is told through poetry, collected writings, paintings and film.

From September 2023 to January 2024, Lime and Edge Hill University’s Home from Home participatory art project ran over 25 creative workshops at Buccleuch Lodge, Delamere and Crumpsall Vale Intermediate Care centres and Dermott Murphy NHS Continuing Healthcare Unit. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council the aim of the project was to explore the realities of living and working in the community wards for both staff and patients, and how those experiences can be expressed through co-created work.

Writers Helen Harrison, Zayneb Allak and Rebecca Hurst encouraged patients, their families and NHS staff to explore the idea of ‘home’ using drawing, storytelling and creative writing and the Home from Home poetry collection features each writer’s creative response to these workshops. [The full publication can be downloaded here: Home from Home – Booklet 15.02.24 (limeart.org)]

Sound artist Caro C and writer Kim Wiltshire also created the verbatim poem ‘There’s Nowhere Else (Quite Like Home)’ featuring the voices of staff. The staff were asked open questions about the nature of their work and their compassion for the patients. Their responses were knitted together into a poetic collage of heart-felt insights and passion for the work. [This can be viewed here: There’s Nowhere (Quite Like Home) Vertabim Poem on Vimeo]

Dr Kim Wiltshire Project Lead highlights the benefits of arts for health participation:

An artist working creatively in a hospital can tell us a lot about the culture of the setting and complement clinical outcomes, fostering mental stimulation and emotional connection and confidence building, not only for patients but for staff. As NHS staff know, rehabilitation is about so much more than someone being physically ready to go home, it is about recovering confidence and personal autonomy or gaining as much of this as possible – creative interventions led by artists helps this journey and helps us understand healthcare settings in new ways. We have been made so welcome by MLCO staff throughout the project, who have worked with us openly and honestly and accommodated us into the routine of their centres- thank you to all the patients and staff who have taken part in this project.

Louise Lewis, Matron at Crumpsall Vale shared that she will post a copy of the book to every patient who participated and said, “It’s been absolutely lovely. When we first heard about this, we were like ‘We don’t have time for this!’ until it got started and we saw what it meant. It makes you see it from another side and how they [patients] feel.”

Alex Barker, Head of Adult Nursing, Manchester and Trafford Local Care Organisations, said, “I’ve seen the video before but they still made me cry.”

Emma Flynn, Assistant Director (North Locality Adults), said, “Fantastic! It’s always lovely to see patients and staff do something together – sharing stories and experiences. It’s nice to hear staff enjoying their jobs.”

Rekha Chandela, an occupational therapist based at Crumpsall Vale who was involved in the project said that the work has given her ideas for engaging patients and she would highly recommend this model.

To find out more email limeart@mft.nhs.uk