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Dancing as a psychosocial intervention in care homes: a systematic review of the literature

Authors

  • A. Guzmán-García,

    Corresponding author
    • Dementia Researcher, Dementia Research Centre, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Ilford, Essex, UK
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  • J. C. Hughes,

    1. Consultant in Psychiatry of Old Age, North Tyneside General Hospital, and Honorary Professor of Philosophy of Ageing, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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  • I. A. James,

    1. Visiting Professor of Dementia, Northumbria University and Head of Newcastle Older Adult Psychology Service, Newcastle Older Adult Psychology Service, Akenside Offices, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Formerly Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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  • L. Rochester

    1. Professor of Human Movement Science, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Clinical Ageing Research Unit, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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Correspondence to: A. Guzmán-García, PhD, E-mail: Azucena.GuzmanGarcia@nelft.nhs.uk

Abstract

Background

There is a need to find meaningful and engaging interventions to improve mood and behaviour for residents of care homes. The demand on care staff might diminish opportunities for them to encourage these activities. Staff anecdotal information attests that dancing as an activity improves mood in residents and staff. Hence, the importance of investigating what dancing brings to the care home social environment.

Aims

To provide a systematic review of the evidence from studies related to dancing interventions for older people with dementia living in care homes.

Method

Electronic databases were searched. Previous reviews were also included, and recognised experts were consulted up to January 2012. Inclusion criteria considered study methodology and evidence that the impact of the dance intervention had been measured.

Results

Ten studies were identified that satisfied the inclusion criteria: seven qualitative and three quantitative. Studies used different approaches such as therapeutic dance, dance movement therapy, dance therapy, social dancing and psychomotor dance-based exercise. There was evidence that problematic behaviours decreased; social interaction and enjoyment in both residents and care staff improved. A few adverse effects were also acknowledged.

Conclusion

The evidence on the efficacy of dancing in care homes is limited in part owing to the methodological challenges facing such research. This review aims to raise awareness of the possibility of implementing dance work as an engaging activity in care homes. We shall also consider options for future dance work research as a means to encourage relationships and sensory stimulation for both residents and staff. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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