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Home delivery of participatory art to support wellbeing in dementia carer and care recipient dyads – the Arts of Prescription

Session Type: 
Focus category: 
Friday, March 29, 2019 - 12:20 to 12:38

Aim: This paper describes the design, delivery and evaluation of a pilot participatory art program targeted towards dementia dyads. The program was delivered in participants’ homes by professional artists, and aimed to support the wellbeing of family carers through shared creative activities with the person with dementia for whom they care.

Methods: Six dyads (one dyad with two carers) were enrolled in the program. Dyads received a home delivered program of eight weekly art classes, facilitated by a professional artist with experience and training. Program evaluation included carer and artist interviews, and pre- and post- program questionnaires to measure carer burden and wellbeing (using the Zarit Burden Interview and the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale).

Results: Carer interviews found that dyads benefited through enhanced social inclusion, opportunities to be ‘in flow’ and experience personal growth and achievement, and new dyadic interactions. Measures of carer burden and wellbeing also indicated positive changes, though did not reach statistical significance. 

Discussion: Participatory art provides multiple benefits for dyads. Trained professional artists, home delivery, suitable artistic tasks, professional supplies, and a focus on the interests of the dyad were essential elements of the pilot. We believe the model of service delivery trialled could be readily scaled up. Recent legislative changes in Australia that require home care services to be delivered on the basis of consumer directed care should increase the opportunity for dyads to access this novel psychosocial intervention.

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