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P-19 Connecting creatively: a personhood based approach to caring for people living and dying with dementia
  1. Helen King,
  2. Fiona Hodson and
  3. Joy Ross
  1. St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK


Background Dementia care is complex, especially at the end-of-life. People with advanced dementia suffer from burdensome symptoms; quality of living and dying is enhanced by palliative care (Eisenmann, Golla, Schmidt H et al., 2020). Emphasising personhood (Kitwood, 1997) should be integral to all interactions, providing a safe and nurturing environment in which the person is encouraged to express themselves. This reflects every individual’s intrinsic uniqueness and the interconnectedness of human beings. Research from cultural arts interventions has indicated that professionals from the visual and performance arts are well equipped to see the person behind the condition and focus on possibilities for meaningful relationships in the here and now (Swinnen, 2016). Can this translate into everyday care within hospice care?

Aim To promote innovative, creative approaches in dementia care, allowing the development of everyday methods to enhance connectivity and care for people living and dying with dementia.

Method A programme of immersive, interactive activities and education raising awareness and stimulating discussion, debate and change has been organised (June 2021). Accessible to all members of the hospice team: clinicians, non-clinicians, volunteers, fundraisers and trustees, encouraging the principle that dementia care is everybody’s business. Opportunities to engage in creativity to support connection learning with insightful arts and health practitioners/therapists. These include music events, theatre performances, creative sensory workshops exploring senses, movement, texture and sound, interactive exhibitions and a virtual experiential experience.

Results Response/learning from these events will be captured using film, questionnaires and focus groups and used to inform and update the hospice’s dementia strategy. Key messages will be presented at conference with development of ongoing engagement and future research plans.

Conclusion Sharing experiences and displaying new, creative possibilities will aid understanding of those with barriers of memory and communication, unlocking gateways to connection with people living with dementia is possible.

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