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An evaluation of group reminiscence arts sessions for people with dementia living in care homes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Frank Keating, Laura Cole, Robert Grant

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-821
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jul 2018
Accepted/In press31 May 2018
E-pub ahead of print16 Jul 2018
Published1 Apr 2020


King's Authors


Dementia has been identified as one of the major challenges in the 21st Century. The detrimental effects of dementia can jeopardise personhood, thus person-centred interventions including reminiscence and arts practice have been recommended as tools to promote social inclusion and improve the quality of life. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of group reminiscence arts sessions for people living with dementia in care homes (residential and nursing homes) using a comparative and time series design to collect data on quality of life. The intervention was conducted in six care homes in London over a period of 24 weeks and compared with six care homes not receiving the intervention (control). Dementia Care Mapping was used as the primary data collection instrument to measure positive behaviours and rate quality of life before, during and after group reminiscence arts sessions. The evaluation team observed the sessions at three-weekly intervals. Statistical modelling found that positive behaviours and quality of life of care home residents participating in group reminiscence arts sessions increased over the 24-week period. Well-being increased sharply during each session and plateaued at 50 minutes with a sustained positive effect after the sessions. On a longer timescale, well-being and quality of life increased slowly and steadily from one session to the next. The findings were statistically significant (p < 0.001). The study concludes that group reminiscence arts sessions can have a positive and sustained impact on the quality of life of people with dementia. However, the evidence on the sustainability of the effect over time remains unknown. More research is needed to assess in much greater depth the association between quality of life and group reminiscence arts sessions.

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