Background: Visual art and music have been found to improve the emotions and moods of patients and healthcare staff, and attendance of live performances has been shown to foster social interaction.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore the effects of a visual artist on patients and nursing staff in an outpatient chemotherapy treatment environment.
Methods: During an eight-week period, an artist painted in an outpatient chemotherapy treatment room, either interacting with patients (six weeks) or quietly painting while wearing headphones (two weeks). A total of 73 surveys were completed by patients and staff, providing quantitative and qualitative data about anxiety, distraction, enjoyment, and social interaction.
Findings: Patients evaluated the experience positively, whether the artist was interacting with them or not. However, according to patient- and staff-reported data, greater social interaction occurred during the interaction weeks. Nurses reported that the artist’s presence made their job easier, with a stronger effect observed during the interaction weeks.