A study was performed in the United Kingdom in 2012 to evaluate the usefulness of creative therapy for dementia patients. Creative therapy can include art, dance, and music, and movement. There is a wide range of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions that can be used with dementia. The use of arts or creative therapy has been proven to be useful with dementia patients. This would be useful in routine health care to help patients with agitation and affected verbal expression also.
It has positive effects on mental health, specifically self-esteem, well-being, recovery, and perception of pain. Reminiscence therapy is also effective in improving mood and cognition. This study was carried out in two community units that provided day treatment and inpatient services for patients with dementia. Nurses and support support staff took part in the evaluation. The nurses and staff received a one day training workshop in creative therapy. Therapy was given for 30 minutes, three times weekly. Interventions, and observations were recorded.
Photographs were taken to use for future reminiscence. Patients were invited to take part in dance, drama, music, and movement activities. Ethical approval was not required but consent for the project and photographs was obtained from patients or their family members. To maintain anonymity, participants were assigned an identification number. The study was conducted over an eight week period. Information was recorded on attendance, activities, and outcomes of the sessions. The degree of improvement in each participant was recorded during each session.
No improvement was zero. Some improvement was one, and marked improvement was two. Activities included dance and use of objects to aid in memory stimulation. The closing session included singing, breathing exercises, and gentle movement. The same two staff members collected data during each session. Neurological deterioration in the frontal lobes in Alzheimer’s disease inhibits motivation and self -expression. Arts and creative activities can help a person communicate by creative self-expression. Participants in both units showed marked improvement in communication.
Pleasure and enjoyment are important for well-being. All but two of the participants in the study showed pleasure and enjoyment. This suggests that creative therapy can have a positive effect on well-being. This study showed that dementia patients responded well to creative therapy. Some limitations to creative therapy are the skill mix of the staff and the individual diagnosis of dementia and degree of complexity of the patient’s needs. This study suggests that maintaining artistic approaches to health care can have beneficial outcomes for patients.
Creative therapy should be adopted into mainstream care services for dementia patients. Short and long term effects of the therapy still need to be researched. Creative arts therapy uses art, music, dance, movement, and yoga. Creative arts therapy is useful for communication, emotional release, and healing. It helps promote self-expression, emotional well-being, coping skills, emotional release, and build physical and mental strength. Hospitalization is stressful. Arts therapy can help reduce the stress level of patients. It is particularly useful for hospitalized children.
Dance and movement therapy can be very useful to reduce stress and help heal disabilities and diseases. It is useful for a wide range of disorders such as autism, mental retardation, post- traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s, dementia, and depression. It can also be used for blind patients to help build coordination. It provides social interaction, expression, reduces stress, and improves motor abilities as well as providing exercise. It would be very useful in rehabilitation, centers, day care centers, nursing homes, and children’s units in hospitals.
It is a good way for nurses and other staff to interact with their patients. Staff should be properly trained to provide this therapy or physical or occupational therapist can be used to provide creative arts therapy. The ethical considerations in this study mostly revolved around willing participation from patients. All of the patients in the study volunteered to take part. Consents were obtained from patients and family members. They also consented to photographs being taken. The patients were identified by numbers during the entire 8 week study so they were therefore anonymous in the results.
Ethical approval was not required since this was a service improvement project evaluation. No harm was done to patients in any way. For any physical activity the patient should first be cleared of any risk to their health by their doctor. Patients should be able to stop therapy at any time. Some of the rights involved were the right to self- determination, right to privacy, right to fair treatment, and protection from discomfort and harm. All of these patient rights were respected in this study. The risk benefit ratio was acceptable.
There was little if any risk to patients and the study could benefit the participants and others. I feel that creative arts therapy can be used in many more settings than it is currently. As a rehabilitation nurse I believe it should be incorporated into the physical therapy the patients receive each day. Patients stay on the unit I work on for 5 to 30 or sometimes more days. This kind of therapy would probably greatly improve patient satisfaction. They often feel that physical therapy is hard work. Mixing art and creative therapy would make it more enjoyable.
Courtney from Study Moose
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