Dance and other creative activities can have a positive
effect on residents, staff and a home’s quality rating
Underfunding and high levels of staff turnover restrict the provision of creative activities in care homes despite the benefits, a new report has found.
Other conclusions include that delivery is not universal, and that staff are limited by time, resources and a lack of specialist skills and knowledge to deliver creative activities.
Furthermore, provision is often dependent on the enthusiasm of the care home manager, concludes the National Activity Providers Association.
In the report, Creative Health Review: How Policy Can Embrace Creative Health, MPs in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing and the National Centre for Creative Health call for Integrated Care Systems to incorporate creative health into their strategies and commissioning.
Participatory arts have been shown to promote social relationships and reduce
loneliness in older people in care homes, a sense of achievement and empowerment.
Active engagement in creative activity has been linked to slower cognitive decline and a reduced risk of dementia, and to improve a range of physical and mental health conditions.
In Wales, Age Cymru’s CARTrefu programme delivers arts residencies in 200
care homes. Evaluation showed a significant impact on the wellbeing of residents, including those with dementia, and an improvement in staff attitudes towards residents. In addition, staff reported positive impacts in their own wellbeing, and in job satisfaction and retention, and an improved sense of purpose at work. This was achieved through meaningful interaction with residents and other staff members, outside of usual roles, observing improved wellbeing in residents and providing a positive, calming and relaxing space for staff, allowing them to slow down. A Social Return on Investment analysis also found a return of £6.48 for every Pound invested over the first two years.
A five-point plan for nurturing care in dementia
By Anne Kelly from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)
Individualise care plans: These should take into account residents’ abilities and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement
Create a supportive environment: based on memory cues, familiar objects, routines and visual prompts
Role-based activities: Introduce activities that are based on abilities to offer a sense of purpose and accomplishment. For example, simple gardening tasks, setting tables, or arranging flowers
Empowerment training: Encourage staff to act as enablers and supporters, empowering residents to take an active role in their own care. Foster a culture of respect and dignity
Evaluation and adaptation: Continuously assess the effectiveness of your changes. Solicit feedback from residents, families, and staff, and be open to making adjustments as needed. Flexibility and responsiveness are key.
Routines are crucial
By Bernadette Mossman, healthcare director at Vida Healthcare
- Starting the day: If a resident has always started their day by bathing, then keep that habit. Leaving out a toothbrush and the clothes for the day (put out in the order they should be put on), can encourage confidence and independence.
- Daily activities: Tailor routines to residents’ personal preferences and past activities as much as possible.
- Fine dining: Traditional and nostalgic meals, coupled with involvement in table-setting, can encourage a sense of purpose and inclusion.
- Bedtime and circadian rhythms: Dimmed lighting can be useful to support peaceful rest in people who report disturbed sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders (CRDs).