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27th September 2017

Art in Care Homes – Inspiring Residents and Staff to Be Creative

The arts can make a powerful difference to someone’s social and health care. The recent All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Well-being and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust report, have both raised awareness of the benefits that the arts can bring to keeping us well, aiding our recovery and supporting lives ‘lived in colour’.

This is no less the case for residents of care homes. That is why SCIE has just published a digital resource for members of the care home team to support them in engaging older residents in the creative activities. Tips, ideas, links and examples of good practice in different arts ‘topics’ including puppetry, sculpture and theatre are provided on the Arts in Care Homes web pages, funded by The Baring Foundation.

Sense of Identity

The opportunity to dance or make things gives residents the chance to use their creative imagination and the prospect of learning a new skill or returning to one previously enjoyed. Participation in the arts offers an opportunity for self-expression and can foster that sense of identity that institutional life can sometimes erode. Being in a choir or sewing in a class can build someone’s confidence as well as their links with others. There’s the chance to involve the local community in the arts; a way to meet new people and have novel experiences. As importantly, the arts provide care home residents and staff with fun and excitement - something we all need.

Care Quality Commission - Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs)

Using arts in care homes can help demonstrate that you are addressing two of the Care Quality Commission’s KLOEs (Being responsive and caring). Participation in the arts can no longer be regarded as an optional extra.

‘We don’t have the budget’ is sometimes the response from the care sector when these ideas are suggested. But the ‘Do It Yourself’ section of the website, written by the National Association of Providers of Activity (NAPA) offers a plethora of inexpensive creative ideas, adaptable for people with different cognitive function, including those at the end of life. A resident may not be well enough to go into care home garden but a piece of lavender brought to the bedside will scent the room, prompt a chat about gardening or trigger a song about the flower.

The arts can seriously improve your health. Creativity offers many ways to connect, move, give, learn and notice – the five ways to well-being. This should be the offer irrespective of where you live.

Press release: Using creative arts in care homes to improve residents' lives

SCIE resource: Inspiring creative arts in care homes

SCIE: personalisation in care homes: action planning tool

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Pamela Holmes

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

Pamela is the Practice Development Manager at the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Read more

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