Artwork gives patients a creative outlet at RBWH

HADS Nurse Unit Manager Ron McDonald with one of the artworks

HADS Nurse Unit Manager Ron McDonald with one of the artworks

The Hospital, Alcohol and Drugs Service (HADS) at The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) is giving patients a creative outlet during their detox program by providing them with painting materials and canvases during their stay.

HADS Nurse Unit Manager Ron McDonald said the artwork program had been operating for a few years with great success.

“As well as running an educational program, which is designed for discharge planning, we offer patients art and other activities to keep them occupied. We provide the canvases and the paint,” he said.

HADS is a medicated detox unit operating at RBWH with 16 beds. Patients can be referred from a GP, community, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service (ATODS) or self-referral from the Emergency Department.

The program has a clinical liaison service that operates throughout the greater hospital and a staff member in the Emergency Department.

“For anyone who comes to the hospital with a medical condition and they have a significant alcohol or drug addiction, we will go see them to ensure their detox is managed alongside their medical condition,” Ron said.

“Our staff member in the Emergency Department will do a brief intervention. They will tell the patient about our services and try to get them some ongoing help with the program.”

Ron said the service deals with the dependent end of an addiction and the main aim is to increase sobriety periods.

“We’re looking for the patient to stay sober for longer and to see them less. If this happens, we are very happy.”

He said the rate of Indigenous patients is 3-5 per cent each year.

“A lot of the artwork displayed throughout the facility is by Indigenous patients. People appreciate the artwork. We tell patients the artwork was done by other patients who completed the program two to three years ago. They really appreciate the fact we keep it up on the walls.”

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