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Leading artists and designers join forces with charity to transform the A&E experience for thousands of patients every year

02 May 2014

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity is bringing together leading artists and designers to support Chelsea and Westminster Hospital create the country’s leading A&E department.

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity is bringing together leading artists and designers to support Chelsea and Westminster Hospital create the country’s leading A&E department. The hospital, which was recently ranked as having the top performing A&E in the country for the second year in a row, is investing in a £10 million redevelopment of its A&E department which will double in space and be able to treat over 140,000 emergency patients every year. In support of this redevelopment, Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity has launched a £600,000 fundraising appeal to create an environment that minimises patient anxiety and stress, while also improving clinical outcomes.

International artist, Mischa Kuball, British sculptor, Richard Woods and award winning set designer and theatre director, Steffi Muller, are just some of the leading artists who are working with the arts team at Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity. Together they will create site specific works which distract and engage patients in a positive way. This will include ambient sounds, adaptable lighting, and engaging artworks for floors, ceilings and walls.

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity has long been acknowledged to be a leader in the integration of arts in health to improve patient care and experience.

Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director, Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, says: “Being admitted to A&E can be an incredibly stressful and daunting time. While questions are racing through your mind - how long will I be in pain? How serious is my child’s injury, there are the sounds of sirens, of staff giving instructions, of people struggling in pain.  We are using arts in health to create a better environment for people. Light, colour and sound, affect hormones, brain activity and the way people behave. Our research and consultation has shown that patients would find it beneficial to have less noise, a calming environment, lighting that is flexible and softer, better use of floor and corridor space. Patients and visitors have told us they want artwork connected with the natural world. We want to create an environment that feels safe from the moment you step through the doors.”

Steffi Muller says: “As a stage designer, I am used to creating a playground for the actor to help the audience join their imaginative world. In a waiting room there are no actors and there is no audience, yet there are many individual ‘dramas’. This is precisely why I am excited to put something into the space which alters the state you are in to make you feel happier and calmer, even if momentarily. You become part of a space that takes you away from the hospital as an institution.”

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity will also be able to provide clinical innovations such as apps, devices and services that improve the experience of being in hospital for patients, families, visitors and staff.

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity is launching its £600,000 fundraising appeal to make these plans become a reality.

To donate to Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity’s A&E appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/CWAE or text CWAE70 and the amount you want to donate to 70070 (for example, CWAE70 £10 to 70070).