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Art, music, story: The evaluation of a person-centred arts in health programme in an acute care older persons' unit

Ford, K, Tesch, L, Dawborn, J and Courtney-Pratt, H ORCID: 0000-0002-6812-3360 2018 , 'Art, music, story: The evaluation of a person-centred arts in health programme in an acute care older persons' unit' , International journal of older people nursing , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1111/opn.12186.

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Aims and objectives: To evaluate the impact of an arts in health programme deliveredby a specialised artist within an acute older person’s unit.Background: Acute hospitals must meet the increasingly complex needs of older peoplewho experience multiple comorbidities, often including cognitive impairment, either directlyrelated to their admission or longer term conditions, including dementia. A focus onphysical illness, efficiency and tasks within an acute care environment can all divert attentionfrom the psychosocial well-being of patients. This focus also decreases capacity forperson-centred approaches that acknowledge and value the older person, their life story,relationships and the care context. The importance of arts for health and wellness, includingresponsiveness to individual need, is well established: however, there is little evidenceabout its effectiveness for older people in acute hospital settings. We report on a collaborativearts in health programme on an acute medical ward for older people.Design: The qualitative study used collaborative enquiry underpinned by a constructivistapproach to evaluate an arts programme that involved participatory art-making activities,customised music, song and illustration work, and enlivening the unit environment.Methods: Data sources included observation of art activities, semi-structured interviewswith patients and family members, and focus groups with staff. Data were transcribedand thematically analysed using a line by line approach.Results: The programme had positive impacts forthe environment, patients, families andstaff. The environment exhibited changes as a result of programme outputs; patients andfamilies were engaged and enjoyed activities that aided recovery from illness; and staffalso enjoyed activities and importantly learnt new ways of working with patients.Conclusions: An acute care arts in health programme is a carefully nuanced programmewhere the skills of the arts health worker are critical to success. Utilising such skill,continued focus on person-centeredness and openness to creativity demonstratedpositive impacts for patients, families, staff and the ward environment.Implications for practice: This study affirms the contribution of an arts in health programfor older persons in an acute care setting in challenging the dominance of a taskbased medical model and emphasising person-centred care and outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ford, K and Tesch, L and Dawborn, J and Courtney-Pratt, H
Keywords: acute care, arts in health, older people nursing, person centred care
Journal or Publication Title: International journal of older people nursing
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1748-3735
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/opn.12186
Copyright Information:

© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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