Patients across the UK are enjoying the new ‘Boredom Buster’ publication developed by University Hospital Bristol, Weston NHS Foundation Trust, and NHS art coordinators across the South West, including Yeovil Hospital’s own Caroline Barnes.

The 48-page bumper newspaper has been produced for the NHS National Performance Advisory Group for Arts, Design and Heritage in Hospitals and is the first of its kind, pioneering a collaborative project between the arts and the hospital setting.

Yeovil Hospital’s Art & Design Coordinator Caroline Barnes, who helped develop the idea, said: “During lockdown I wasn’t able to work at the hospital. Quite quickly, a group of like-minded arts coordinators across the South West got their heads together to think about ways in which we could support lonely and isolated patients who, at the time, were not able to have visitors. The Boredom Buster was in development and it was a chance to move it forward. We pooled together ideas and research, and produced activities that could go into the first edition.”

The summer edition is packed with articles and activities to help boost moods and alleviate anxiety in adults and older teenagers. The Boredom Buster encourages patients to take five minutes away from the hospital perspective and immerse themselves in a creative outlet. The activities are all based on research to help patients communicate and maintain cognitive function while in hospital and included writing, drawing, learning sign language, and more. The Boredom Buster has had some amazing contributions generated from outside the NHS, including artists, poets, authors and choreographers to name a few.

Caroline added: “It was a way of using my skills to support people remotely and be part of, what is now, a fantastic national initiative across hospitals, care homes and community settings. I am really proud of the quality of Boredom Buster and the range of amazing contributions we have secured from the creative sector who have been incredibly generous with their time, ideas and artworks.”

We will be distributing the Boredom Buster across the wards at Yeovil Hospital with the help of our volunteers and staff. It is a free publication to patients and has been kindly funded by Yeovil Hospital’s League of Friends.

As the Boredom Buster has been widely accepted by a number of national NHS Foundation Trusts, a winter issue is being created.


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