Development of a complex arts-based intervention for patients with end-stage kidney disease whilst receiving haemodialysis

Claire Elizabeth Carswell, Joanne Reid, Ian Walsh, William Johnston, Jenny B Lee, Helen McAneney, Robert Mullan, Hugh Nelson, Michael Matthews, Elizabeth Weatherup, Andrea Spencer, Jean Michelo, Anne Quail, Grainne Kielty, Alistair Mackenzie, Jenny Elliott, Helen Noble

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Background: Patients with end-stage kidney disease who receive haemodialysis experience a protracted treatment regimen that can result in an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Arts-based interventions could address this unique issue; however, no arts-based interventions have been developed for delivery within a haemodialysis unit and evaluation within a randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Aim: To develop a complex arts-based intervention for patients with end-stage kidney disease whilst receiving haemodialysis. Methods: The development process utilised the Arts in Health framework (Fancourt, 2017). The framework was addressed through the establishment of an interdisciplinary advisory group, collaboration and consultation with stakeholders, a scoping and realist review, shadowing of artists-in-residence, personal arts practice and logic modelling. Results: The intervention involved six 1-h long, one-to-one facilitated sessions focused on creative writing and visual art. Patients could choose between art form and self-select a subject matter. The sessions had a primary focus on skill development and were delivered using principles derived from the psychological theory of flow. Conclusion: The Arts in Health framework provided an appropriate and pragmatic approach to intervention development. Complex arts-based interventions can be developed for the purpose of evaluation within a trial framework. This intervention was designed to strike a balance between standardised components, and a person-centred approach necessary to address existential boredom.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, the Antrim Area Hospital Renal Unit and Arts Care Northern Ireland for their ongoing support for this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Arts in health
  • Arts-based intervention
  • Chronic disease
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Haemodialysis
  • Intervention development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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