A Hospital's Contemporary Art Collection: Effects on Patient Mood, Stress, Comfort, and Expectations

HERD. 2014 Spring;7(3):60-77. doi: 10.1177/193758671400700305.


Objective: It is not firmly established whether an art collection of diverse subject matter, media, and imagery in the hospital environment can play a significant role in mitigating the psychological stresses and physical pain associated with a hospital visit, or whether it improves patients' satisfaction with their care. The variety of contemporary art displayed in the institution investigated in this paper served as a case study to assess the qualitative and quantitative effects of such a collection on patient health and experience. We sought to assess whether the diversity in subject matter, imagery, and media would positively affect patient mood, comfort level, stress level, and expectation of visit.

Background: Previous research concluded that nature art (i.e., representational depictions of nature) has positive effects on patient health outcomes. Studies to date have assessed the effects of individual units of artwork rather than that of an art collection as a whole.

Methods: A survey was sent to 4,376 members of an online Patient Panel, comprised of patients who volunteer to evaluate their experiences at Cleveland Clinic. For this study, Panel members were screened based on whether they had been to the Main Campus in the past 12 months.

Results: A majority of respondents noticed the artwork, had improved moods and stress levels due to the artwork, and reported that the art collection positively impacted their overall satisfaction and impression of the hospital.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that this particular collection has a significant effect on the patient experience and on self-reported mood, stress, comfort, and expectations. These results suggest that patients may respond positively to the diversity of the collection, and to other types of art in addition to nature art.

Keywords: Art, healing environments, hospital, patient-centered care, satisfaction, case study.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Art*
  • Female
  • Health Facility Environment*
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Young Adult