Serene pastel artwork now adorns the ceiling of Mackay Base Hospital’s pre-operative bay providing a calming distraction to patients awaiting surgical procedures.
The ‘healing ceiling’ artwork is created on hospital ceiling tiles by Brisbane-based artist and recovering Chiari 1 Malformation patient Claire Rackley.
Mackay Base Hospital is the second Australian hospital to receive the installation.
Nursing Director Perioperative Services Samantha Sanders said she saw Claire’s work on social media and knew the colourful tiles would benefit patients during their stay at Mackay Base Hospital.
“Patients can feel quite vulnerable waiting for surgery so we had been looking at ways we could help to reduce their anxiety. Claire had just completed a ceiling tile art install at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital and the impact on patients has been remarkable,” Samantha said.
“There is a strong focus on patient engagement at Mackay HHS and improving a patient’s journey is important to us.
“We did some surveying to see what our pre-operative patients thought of the idea and the response was overwhelmingly positive. To back that up, we also read some research journal articles on how art benefits patient outcomes and wellbeing.
“I contacted Claire and began the ordering process with her to select the artwork. We’re very happy with the outcome, it’s just stunning.”
The ceiling art idea came about following Claire’s post-operative brain and spine surgery for Chiari 1 Malformation in 2015, a condition where part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal.
Claire said she became confined to a hospital bed during her recovery and witnessed other patients’ frustration during lengthy hospital stays.
“A patient next to me was very unwell and had already been there two weeks when I had my surgery. She just wanted to go outside and see the sun, so I got my husband to bring in a colourful picture and it calmed her,” Claire said.
“While there, I was always looking up at the ceiling and lost count of the number of dots I was looking at.
“I was feeling quite low and used painting as a recovery method. I began working with my hands more and more and it became a form of therapy.
“People soon became interested in my artwork. I approached RBWH to create the ceiling tiles and they embraced the idea. The response has been very exciting.”
Onsite installations take approximately one hour, depending on the number of tiles, with no change to the structural integrity, infection prevention management and fire rating of the tiles.
The artwork was funded by Mackay Hospital Foundation and specifically chosen from Claire’s art gallery to compliment the location and size of each ceiling tile.
Amie Galletly | Communications Officer | 4885 6808 | 4885 5984