18.01.2021 12:59 Age: 39 days

South West kids get colourful with the WA Country Health Service

WACHS Bunbury Hospital Clinical Nurse Elli Barrett with some of the jigsaws.

The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) enlisted the help of South West children to bring the healing power of art to Bunbury Hospital.

In her spare time, Bunbury Hospital Clinical Nurse Elli Barrett organised for South West Tafe students to cut 180 jigsaw pieces out of wood then sent them to be decorated by six local primary schools.

What came back was colourful jigsaws painted with animals from across the seven continents to reflect the ‘around the world’ theme of the seven rooms in the hospital’s paediatric ward.

This was part of a broader paediatric ward renovation in which staff dedicated their free time to developing the theme and painting the ward.

WACHS Regional Director – South West – Kerry Winsor said the jigsaw exercise engaged the local community with their hospital, provided paediatric patients with a fun activity and aided in creating a pleasant environment for patients, visitors and staff alike.

“Understanding 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.”

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

This is an extension of an earlier community engagement art initiative which was designed to bring some colour to 2020. The WACHS South West team ran a colouring competition for young people in the region encouraging them to draw their idea of each of the WACHS values: community, compassion, quality, integrity, equity and curiosity.

56 artistic entries from four local primary schools - Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School, Dardanup Primary School, Bunbury Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School - were received with one winner chosen for each value.

The six budding young artists have had their artwork converted to posters which are proudly displayed at Bunbury Hospital.
The other 50 entries have been made into a collage which is also displayed at Bunbury Hospital for visitors, staff and patients to enjoy.

These initiatives creatively combine a collaborative activity with the ability to bring WACHS staff and the local community closer together.