Dr Katherine Algar
Creative Conversations: An exploratory study of an arts in health apporach to embedding person-centered care and improving communication between care staff and people living with dementia
Health and Care Research Wales
Aim(s) of the research
This research aims to develop and test a training workshop Creative Conversations for care staff
working with people living with dementia. It uses examples from the creative arts (such as poetry,
music, and films) as a way of helping staff understand more about how people living with dementia feel and to teach them new ways of communicating.
Background to the research, specifically what is the problem being addressed and why is this
Usual training for care home staff was found to focus on how to lift people, what to do in a fire, and making sure people were safe rather than helping care staff understand how to communicate with older people, including those living with dementia. However, researchers found while poets and creative writers were spending time on projects with people living with dementia in care homes, staff and family carers also learnt new skills and understood the residents better.
Design and methods used
The project will be in two phases. In the first phase, the workshop will be developed and tested in care homes. The workshop will be delivered to staff at three care homes at a time until staff from 9 care homes have been trained. The researcher will visit each care home every few weeks and observe the interaction between staff and residents to show whether there is any change after the workshop. It is thought that the quality of interactions will improve.
In the second phase, the workshop will be developed and tested for people living with dementia in the community. The researcher will observe interactions between staff and people living with dementia before and after the workshop to show whether there is a change after the workshop. It is thought that the quality of interactions will improve.
An group of care staff, older people, family carers, and some professionals (an advisory group) will meet before each phase to discuss with the researcher how they think the workshop might work in the care home or community. They will also meet at the end of each phase to discuss whether they thought any changes should be made.
At the end of the project, the team will invite people living with dementia, older people, family carers, care staff and representatives from Social Services to share the results in the hope that it will improve the care of people living with dementia.