Breathe’s 2020 Evaluation Report

Wed 7 Apr

Compassionate Care in a Year of Change

Breathe are delighted to publish a new evaluation report, documenting the impact of our arts, health and wellbeing work with staff and patients at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust during 2020, an unprecedented year like no other.

With the evaluation being led by Dr. Karen Gray and Dr. Timothy J. Senior of supersum and funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the in-depth report examines our patient and NHS staff wellbeing programmes including Breathe Dance for Strength and Balance, Breathe Sing for Lung Health, Breathing Spaces, and our newest programmes developed during the pandemic: Breathe Dance for Staff Wellbeing and Breathe Creative Breaks.

Since March 2020, like most organisations, we adapted and transitioned much of our work online, finding new ways to reach audiences by working closely with the many experts and creative practitioners we collaborate with year-round. During 2020, we delivered 237 events with 5,800 individual engagements with patients, staff and visitors.

This evaluation provides analysis of data from surveys and in-depth interviews with a range of stakeholders, alongside existing feedback and monitoring data. To reflect the unique delivery year of 2020, the evaluation approach also measured impact before and during COVID-19.

[Breathe’s programmes are] one of the things that gives the Trust a bit of an edge. Hospitals can be distressing for patients and tough places to work for staff - the arts counter that in no small way. It is a very very important part of caring for patients and staff.
Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust

Some key findings from participants across all programmes, include:

  • 90% reported a positive impact on wellbeing in the period before COVID-19
  • 88% reported a positive impact on wellbeing during COVID-19.
  • 95% reported a positive impact on their connection with others before COVID-19
  • 82% reported a positive impact on their experience of life at home during COVID-19

Over the past year, the biggest area of development for Breathe has been our broadened offer for NHS staff wellbeing with the aim of supporting staff whilst they have navigated the pandemic. A new online participatory programme has enabled staff to take part from home, redeployed positions and even on the bus or the train on the way home from work.

[Breathe’s programmes for staff] give you the sense of yet another community within the community of the hospital. They give you the sense from the wider Trust management that it’s important to provide those options in order for staff to feel valued, and, therefore, for staff to feel that they can then provide better care. It works both ways.

Some key findings from this growing area of our work include:

  • 73% of Breathe Dance for Staff Wellbeing participants reported a positive impact on their wellbeing
  • During COVID-19, Breathe’s online Wellbeing Playlists for staff had an online reach of 22,800
  • Breathe Harmony; Guy’s and St Thomas’ Staff Choir, had 74,847 YouTube views of their multi-track single, recorded during COVID-19

This significant piece of evaluation work is essential for us in developing our strategy for 2021 and beyond. We’re looking forward to taking the findings and recommendations forward as we work towards a blended model of online and in person delivery.

Download the full Evaluation Report here which includes an Executive Summary.

We’d like to thank our external evaluators, Dr Karen Gray and Dr Timothy Senior for their expertise and sensitive approach to our work, and our many participants; staff champions, volunteers, artists and freelancers who gave their time and openness to this process.

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