Creative arts and dementia: Projects

Can arts increase quality of life and well-being in care home residents with dementia? An exploratory study

This PhD study by Kat Algar is funded by National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR), Welsh Government, and supervised by Professor Bob Woods and Dr Gill Windle.

In the UK there are 700,000 people with dementia (just under 40,000 in Wales). Estimates anticipate a doubling of people with dementia in the next generation (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2009). Symptoms of dementia include a decline in cognitive ability, memory, language and orientation. It is a progressive disease, and as yet there are no known cures. Therefore it is important that as well as researching prevention or cure, researchers also focus on promoting the quality of life and well-being of people with dementia.

Some research studies have shown that involvement in an arts programme increases the quality of life and well-being of people with dementia. However, the majority of evidence is anecdotal. The aim of this exploratory study is to develop and evaluate an arts programme for people with dementia living in a care home.

The study will be in 3 stages, where the arts programme is refined at each stage, based on feedback and results from the previous stage. A multidisciplinary advisory group, the people with dementia, and carers will be consulted at each stage.
The results will inform the development of a future definitive trial to evaluate the effectiveness and wider implementation into practice in care homes.


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