The arts in dementia care education: A developmental study

Hannah Zeilig, Fiona Poland, Chris Fox, John Killick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to outline the first stage of an innovative developmental study addressing the educational and emotional needs of dementia care home staff using arts-based materials.

Design/methodology/approach – The arts workshop was developed using a mixed methods approach. This included ethnographic observation within a dementia care home, in-depth interviews with senior care home managers, a thematic analysis of focus groups and the development of a comic. At all stages, the multi-disciplinary project team collaborated closely with the care home staff. A comprehensive literature review of the policy, practice and academic background to dementia workforce education provided a contextual framework for the study. Perspectives from the medical humanities informed the project.

Findings – Despite the high prevalence of people living with dementia in care homes, there is a lack of appropriate training for the workforce that provides their care. This study found that an arts-based workshop offering an interactive mode of education was an effective way to engage this workforce. The workshop empowered participants to recognise their skills and focus on person-centred care; reflecting current recommendations for dementia care.

Research limitations/implications – The workshop was delivered in a single dementia care home and therefore findings may not be generalisable. In addition, the management did not take a direct part in the delivery of the workshop and therefore their views are not included in this study.

Practical implications – The arts-based approach can offer a means of engaging the dementia care workforce in education linked to their experience of caring.

Originality/value – The paper identifies the gap in relevant education for the dementia care workforce and outlines one possible way of addressing this gap using the arts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Public Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • workshop
  • care home
  • arts
  • comic
  • dementia care workforce

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