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Research & Studies

Developing and Evaluating a Participatory Arts Programme for Cancer Patients and Their Caregivers

Citation (APA style): Lefebvre, T., Tack, L., Meersman, M., Vanneste, H., Cool, L., Van Eygen, K., . . . Debruyne, P. R.(2022). Developing and evaluating a participatory arts programme for cancer patients and their caregivers. Acta Clinica Belgica, 77(1), 18–24. doi:10.1080/17843286.2020.1773653


Objectives: Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers often encounter severe distress, having significant consequences to well-being, functionality, and physical health. This study developed and evaluated a participatory arts programme to determine if such could help to improve the well-being of cancer patients and their caregivers.

Methods: To inform the development of a participatory arts programme, cancer patients and their caregivers at an Organisation of European Cancer Institute (OECI)–designated cancer center were asked which activities they would wish to engage in (anonymous survey one). A programme [that included EFT] was then developed and trialed for 1 year. Following participation, we explored the satisfaction and any benefits of taking part (anonymous survey two).

Results: Survey one had a participation rate of 70%. In this survey, participants indicated they preferred group-based activities (61%) over an individual approach to take place on a monthly basis (46%). The developed programme ran from December 2018 to December 2019, with 435 patients and caregivers taking part. Two hundred and eighteen completed survey two and revealed a positive response to both the structure and content of the programme and its impact on the well-being of patients and caregivers. The majority indicated they felt (much) better from participating in the participatory arts programme.

Conclusion: This study points out the interest and potential value of a participatory arts programme to the perceived well-being. This suggests such programmes could be incorporated into cancer care provision, to serve as psychosocial support. The latter is particularly relevant for improving the lives, well-being, and health of cancer patients and those supporting them.


participatory arts programme, cancer, satisfaction, patient, caregiver