Art interventions have a positive impact on patients

The University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, in collaboration with the Oxford Health Arts Partnership (OHAP), conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of arts interventions on patients' well-being. The evaluation took place across two community hospital wards in Oxfordshire and the findings of the evaluation demonstrate the powerful positive effects of arts interventions on patients, leading to recommendations for further growth for the OHAP program.

The Arts Impact Measured (AIM) programme, which was funded by Oxford Health Charity and coordinated by Oxford Health Arts Partnership, involved a diverse range of arts interventions, including dance, live instrumental music, museum object interactions, and painting. These interventions were implemented in community hospitals to enhance the well-being of patients through creative engagement.

 Read the full report

Key Findings

Positive Mood Enhancement

The AIM evaluation revealed that arts interventions had a significant positive impact on patients' mood and emotional well-being. Patient interactions with artists, engaging in activities like music, dance, and painting, led to improved feelings of happiness in patients, with 29% experiencing positive emotions before the intervention and 94% after; this was a 224% increase.

Memory and Individuality

Patients engaged in arts interventions shared memories and stories, fostering a sense of community and individuality. Arts activities encouraged patients to explore their personal histories and connect with their cultural heritage.

Building Connections

The interventions facilitated connections between patients, artists, and even hospital staff. Patients reported feeling more engaged and connected with their peers and care providers during the arts sessions.

Impact on Patient Experience

"I want great care" scores, a measure of patient experience across NHS facilities, demonstrated a notable increase in the "involvement" variable. Although not directly linked to arts interventions, this increase suggests an overall positive impact on patients' satisfaction and engagement.


Based on the positive outcomes of the AIM evaluation, the report recommends that OHAP expands this project and the reach of interventions like this. The evaluation suggests that integrating arts interventions as a part of patient care can contribute to creating a healing environment that benefits patients' physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

This is just one of many arts projects funded through the charity and the evidence gathered continues to demonstrate that using charitable funds in this way makes a huge difference to patient experience across our Trust.

If you want to find out more about how to support arts in healthcare projects - visit our arts appeal page.