Community art project rejigs Bunbury kids’ ward

Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
Bunbury Hospital clinical nurse Elli Barrett with one of the jigsaws.
Camera IconBunbury Hospital clinical nurse Elli Barrett with one of the jigsaws. Credit: Ailish Delaney / South Western Times

South West children and health workers have joined forces to help bring the power of art to the rooms of young patients at Bunbury Hospital.

What started as a colourful idea by clinical nurse Elli Barrett soon turned into a community art project when she enlisted the help of South Regional TAFE students to cut 180 jigsaw pieces out of wood.

The pieces were sent to six primary schools for students to decorate with animals from the seven continents, reflecting the “around the world” theme of the paediatric ward.

Hospital staff dedicated their free time to developing the theme and painting the ward to help brighten the lives of patients, visitors and staff alike.

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Initiatives like this can help improve our patients’ and their family’s experiences in our health services across the South West.

WA Country Health Service regional director South West Kerry Winsor said the jigsaw exercise engaged the community with the hospital and provided paediatric patients with a fun activity.

“The integration of art within hospitals provides not only a restorative and comfortable environment, studies have proven it also reduces stress and can improve clinical outcomes,” Ms Winsor said.

“Providing our paediatric patients with a positive escape from what can be a stressful hospital setting, and for them to know that local kids are behind them in their recovery is important to us at WACHS.”

The hospital also hosted a colouring competition which saw 56 entries from students from Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Bunbury and Dardanup primary schools draw the hospital’s values.

A winner was chosen for each of the six values, with the winning artworks on display as posters within the hospital alongside a collage of the other 50 entries.

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