The benefits of creative therapy for people with dementia
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The benefits of creative therapy for people with dementia

Paula Rylatt Specialist practitioner in psychosocial interventions, Older People’s Services, Fieldhead Hospital, Wakefield

Aim To evaluate the use of creative therapy, including dance, drama, music and movement, with people who have dementia attending one NHS organisation that provides day treatment and inpatient services.

Method A one-day training package in the use of creative therapy in dementia care was commissioned from a dance movement psychotherapist. Creative therapy sessions, including dance, drama, music and movement activities were implemented over an eight-week period, a minimum of three times a week. Observational outcomes of creative self-expression, communication, pleasure and enjoyment, and general engagement were recorded.

Findings Implementation of creative therapy resulted in improvements in creative self-expression, communication, pleasure and enjoyment, and general engagement in people with dementia.

Conclusion The evaluation has emphasised the positive effects of creative or artistic approaches on dementia care, and supports previous research on the use of such approaches in NHS dementia care services. Further research on the immediate and longer-term outcomes and benefits of creative therapy for people with dementia is recommended to support the routine availability of such therapy in dementia care.

Nursing Standard. 26, 33,42-47. doi: 10.7748/ns2012.04.26.33.42.c9050

Correspondence

paula.rylatt@swyt.nhs.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

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