We are starting to gather research that may be helpful in planning your project and/or securing funding. We encourage evidence-based practice where possible, although the evidence from acute hospitals is very sparse. It should be stressed that the activities in the case studies in this digital resource were not led by Arts Therapists. The Arts Therapies are distinct from Arts and Health and are delivered by professionals with a specific training and within a regulated profession. Research that may be found within the health evidence base may relate to the Arts Therapies and you may find it useful to help shape your own projects.

Please let us know if you have any relevant references with open access documents. If you work for the NHS you will be able to access restricted journals via your trust library.

Alex Coulter


Music therapy for people with dementia, Vink AC, Bruinsma MS, Scholten RJPM
This is a Cochrane Review of the Literature, prepared and maintained by the Cochrane Collaboration 2011. The selection criteria for inclusion was randomised controlled trials that reported clinically relevant outcomes associated with music therapy in treatment of behavioural, social, cognitive and emotional problems of older people with dementia. It should be noted, though, that the methodologies were not considered robust enough for the research to be valid (in the context of Cochrane Collaboration gold standards).

Effects of a Creative Expression Intervention on Emotions, Communication and Quality of Life in Persons with Dementia, Phillips, L.J; Reid-Arndt, S.A; Pak, Youngju.
This peer reviewed paper reports on research to test the effect of a storytelling programme, TimeSlips, on communication, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and quality of life in long-term care residents with dementia. As expected given the engaging nature of the TimeSlips creative story-telling intervention, analyses revealed increased positive affect during and at 1-week post-intervention. In addition, perhaps associated with the intervention’s reliance on positive social interactions and verbal communication, participants evidenced improved communication skills. However, more frequent dosing and booster sessions of TimeSlips may be needed to show significant differences between treatment and control groups on long-term effects and other outcomes.

Is music the best medicine?: Using prescribed music to enhance quality of life for people with dementia and their carer, Janice Caine, Service Manager, Alzheimer Scotland.
This is the final report of a series of research projects about health and social care for older people. The PROP practitioner-research programme is a partnership between the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS). The purpose of this practitioner research was to test: if (preferred) music was prescribed daily to a person with dementia using an MP3 player and headphones could this impact positively on their mood/ well being and would this have a positive impact on the carer?

Reawakening the Mind: Evaluation of Arts 4 Dementia's London Arts Challenge in 2012:
Reawakening the Mind - Arts interventions to re-energise and inspire people in the early stages of dementia and their carers. Evidence gained from 17 weekly projects, covering a range of art forms (including music, photography, drama, painting, poetry and dance) was used to assess the impact of each arts activity on cognitive function and wellbeing for both the person with dementia and their carer. Reawakening the Mind represents an invaluable learning stream for arts organisations throughout the UK. Findings show that re-energising artistic stimulation for people in the early stages of dementia and their carers is effective. Carers reported that their partners remained energised, happy and alert overnight (94%) and for up to a week (60%). The level of engagement was very high.

Arts in the Third Age: A Study of Arts for Health and Older People in Cornwall, Simon Bennett and John Bastin, The Cornwall Health Research Unit.
This is an evaluation of a project across Cornwall that encouraged music and movement activities for older people in a variety of settings and training for care staff in creative skills. Aims included to positively impact on the life of people with memory loss and dementia.

Worcester University  
Creativity and Dementia research group, part of their Association for Dementia Studies (ADS). The Director of ADS, Professor Dawn Brooker, has a long standing practice and research interest in creative activity and dementia. Dr Karan Jutlla has been building a research network and working collaboratively with others with the aim to promote this research discipline in both dementia scholarship, and policy and practice initiatives.




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