If you have any suggestions to add to this list of top tips, please email them to Alex Coulter


  • Learn from/work with patients – listen to their feedback and responses. (Visitors, staff and carers) 
  • Address patients creative needs, be sensitive, individual, listening and responding.
  • Respect the patients, clinical staff, artists.
  • Expect to be moved and astounded and joyous by the outcome of the work.


  • Work with quality artists; “The Right People” for the job. 
  • Artists need to be flexible and responsive to ward environment and changes
  • Give adequate support to the artists
  • Communication between artists and staff is key
  • Good idea for artists to undergo basic dementia training before starting project (see Resources for the SCIE eLearning)


  • Spend sufficient time on liaising with and engaging ward staff
  • Commitment from staff is essential
  • All staff need to be informed about projects but artists need one member of staff as a main contact 
  • Work and communicate with clinical teams/staff so they understand your intentions and benefits.
  • Work with the leaders in the organisation – make sure they experience/see the work as it happens. 
  • Become a strong, known, reliable presence on the ward/department. 
  • Select areas carefully, find your champions!


  • Schedule sessions regularly
  • Be flexible to ward and individual needs; - where, when, how will it happen?
  • Be persistent
  • Publish information, posters, laminated (Infection Control) information sheets left at the bed-side for patients and relatives. 
  • With singing make sure you have songs in large print
  • Keep a reflective journal to consolidate your learning
  • Celebrate, use the media to keep/raise the profile. 
  • Ensure the work is properly funded.
  • Sustain it, grow it, and look to the future. Apply for more funding early.




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