Promoting inclusion through Arts-Based activities

Facilitating culture change in dementia care that is reflective of an authentic partnership approach requires the active engagement of all     members of community who are affected by dementia. The PiDC Alliance has found that persons living with dementia are often silenced and excluded from dementia care practices and their expertise is commonly overlooked within culture change efforts.

This arts-based approach is reflective of an industry-wide shift from an institutional model of care which assumes that decisions must be made for individuals living with dementia. The PiDC Alliance approach supports a social model of care, in which decisions about care and life are instead made with persons living with dementia. The Bloomington Cove team really wanted to gather the experiences of individuals with limited or no verbal ability and include their invaluable perspectives throughout their culture change process. This desire, combined with Dr. Meschino’s art background, led us to this innovative, inclusive data collection activity.

–  Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Sherry Dupuis

Designing for Inclusion:

When the Partnering Together for Change team decided to collect data about what works best at Bloomington Cove during the Discovery phase of their Appreciative Inquiry journey, it was important that the voices of all residents, including those with limited or no verbal ability were heard.  In collaboration with team members Dr. Lisa Meschino and Jessica Luh, the group designed and implemented a series of art-based activities to gather the perspectives and experiences of residents with limited verbal ability.  The team sought to find out what is working best at Bloomington Cove by asking residents “what makes you happy?” and “what would make life better for you?”


How does it work?

During the activities, residents were introduced to the idea of art as a vehicle for expression. They were then asked to create an art piece focused on what they enjoy about life at Bloomington Cove or what makes them happy.

Working closely with art facilitators and using images culled from     magazines and other  mediums (which were chosen based on data already collected), residents experimented with a range of art  materials as a way of visually representing their ideas about what makes them happy.

The results, such as the image on this page, demonstrate the sorts of activities and interactions that make Bloomington Cove residents happy. The Partnering Together for Change Team analysed the arts-based data to answer Discovery questions just as they did with focus group responses from staff, care partners, and other residents.  All of their findings will be used in the current Dream phase of the Appreciative Inquiry Process and will help develop Aspiration statements for Bloomington Cove.

For more information on any of the PiDC Alliance initiatives, contact Sian Lockwood, Knowledge Translation Specialist.

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