Wales

Remote art therapy sessions for cancer patients

Patient pictures
Image caption The online art therapy sessions enable patients to be creative while they are receiving treatment

Cancer patients are taking part in remote art therapy sessions.

The online classes mean patients undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment can socially interact without the risk of picking up an infection while their immunity is low.

The project is run by Aberystwyth University and Hywel Dda University Health Board.

It might be extended to other patients who are self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic.

Art therapist Gudrun Jones, who runs sessions, said: "By offering remote art therapy, we have been able to reduce patients' sense of isolation.

"The research has shown me that working with an electronic device, such as a laptop or iPad, is well-suited to art therapy because patients can see each other, share their creative work and still feel part of a supportive group."

Image caption Art therapist Gudrun Jones runs the online sessions

The project is part of a wider research study into the problems facing health care delivery in rural Wales, led by Dr Rachel Rahman, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Rural Health Research at Aberystwyth University.

"Social support is a critical component of treatment for immunosuppressed patients undergoing chemotherapy and this project was originally aimed at offering alternative ways of delivering such support," said Dr Rahman.

"However, the current Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the wider benefits of telehealth for patients and staff."

Director of therapies and health science at Hywel Dda University Health Board Alison Shakeshaft said technology was being used across the health board "to provide therapy services to support members of the public who are shielding or self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic."

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