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Leisure or therapeutics? Snoezelen and the care of older persons with dementia


Correspondence: HelenCox The Centre for Clinical Nursing Research, Epworth Hospital, 89 Bridge Road, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia. Fax: +61 3 9426 6566; Email:


Snoezelen is the registered tradename for a multisensory environment approach initially established for purposes of leisure or therapeutics in the special education arena, but now expanding into a variety of client groups and settings, most notably in the care of older persons. Snoezelen is making its way into Australia at a rapid rate despite a lack of evidence-based research. This paper looks at the Snoezelen phenomenon and searches the literature to review the history and contemporary use of this multisensory environmental work. While most articles indicate positive outcomes Snoezelen is not without its critics, some of whom focus on the lack of rigorous research while others critique the artificiality. As a leisure approach Snoezelen appears to add quality to the culture of the care environment.