Complex arts-based interventions for patients receiving haemodialysis: A realist review

Claire Carswell, Joanne Reid, Ian Walsh, Helen McAneney, Jenny Baxley Lee, Helen Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Many patients with end-stage kidney disease require haemodialysis, a treatment that requires attending hospital three times a week for four hours each visit. This treatment impacts profoundly on mental health. Arts-based interventions for patients receiving haemodialysis could address the impact of this treatment; however, there is no consensus on methods of implementation and mechanisms underlying these interventions in specific clinical contexts. Using a realist approach, relevant articles were synthesised to inform theory relating to the mechanism and implementation of complex arts-based interventions for haemodialysis patients. The theoretical framework includes two implementation phases, firstly delivery of person-centred art activities during haemodialysis and secondly, display of completed artwork. This intervention triggers mechanisms including flow and social capital. Implementation is hindered by constraints of the haemodialysis unit and patients' lack of confidence in their artistic skills. These issues can be addressed through aflexible approach to implementation and support from healthcare professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-133
Number of pages27
JournalArts & health
Issue number2
Early online date1 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

No funding was obtained to conduct this review. The review informed a larger study where funding
was obtained from Northern Ireland Kidney Patient Association and Kidney Care UK to purchase
items for an arts-based intervention


  • Art
  • Health Personnel
  • Hemodialysis Units, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic/therapy
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Arts-based intervention
  • arts in medicine
  • haemodialysis
  • arts in health
  • end-stage kidney disease
  • realist synthesis


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