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Participatory arts success in care homes requires manager buy-in

Participatory arts are a powerful tool to foster engagement with residents and empower staff, new research has found

Dare to imagine, a research project at Angela Ruskin University, also notes that several factors are intrinsic to the success of participatory arts in care homes:

  • Designate ‘link staff’ to promote the work and maintain momentum
  • Support of senior management
  • Allow time for building care home staff confidence to promote engagement.
  • Offer ‘taster’ days.

Participatory arts cover areas such as dance, movement, touch, stimulation, textiles, music, performance, film, virtual reality, digital storytelling, science experiments, and photography. The research concluded that these were powerful tools to foster engagement and meaningful moments with residents and gave care home staff a sense of pride.

However, challenges like staff shortages, turnover, and time constraints hindered consistent involvement of staff, leading to artists often delivering the residencies with limited staff support. Researchers concluded that leadership is needed to oversee the residencies, mediate between artists and care homes, keep momentum going, ensure people’s needs are being met, and develop and enact clear communication.

Photo credit_ Camilla Greenwell, for Fevered Sleep

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