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Challenges and enablers for creative arts practice in care homes

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This article reports on the experiences of artists working in UK care homes across residencies that focused on poetry, dance and drama. Data were collected from reflective diaries and focus group discussions to explore the key challenges when working in settings that can be unfamiliar, complex and disruptive. We also describe a range of strategies that artists developed in response to these challenges (enablers) and how this supported successful delivery of their sessions. We conclude that artists need time and support to understand and adapt to the complexity of care homes, and conclude that ultimately the overarching culture of a care home is the key determinant of how successfully artists can facilitate the engagement of residents with meaningful creative activities. Experience of working with people living with dementia can be particularly valuable, as can knowing how to facilitate participation by residents with a range of sensory, physical and cognitive impairments.
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Keywords: care homes; creative arts; dance; dementia; music; poetry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000106798269 University of Worcester

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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