There is a growing call for embodied, non-invasive approaches to rehabilitation which can improve social relationships as well as psychological and physical wellbeing. This call is supported by an emerging evidence base demonstrating the impact of psychosocial approaches, including music and movement, already found to be beneficial to those with neurological and other disorders.
This practice-led study aimed to explore how a pilot music and movement project was experienced by people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers within a hospice environment. Over two months, we offered six weekly sessions as part of the expanding Wellbeing service at St Columba’s Hospice Care. Eight people with Parkinson’s disease and five carers participated. The study followed a specific music and movement approach (Dalcroze Eurhythmics) that, in addition to psychosocial aspects, considers physical functions of balance and gait as well as executive functions and alertness and concentration. Data collection involved baseline participant information, weekly ethnographic participant observation, as well as a participant focus group and an interview with the facilitator at the end of the project.
The findings highlight the perceived impact of music and movement on people’s sense of psychosocial and physical wellbeing. Participants’ reports of physical and psychological safety, their re-connection with their sense of self, experiences of joy and playfulness, and the relational reframing of movement transcending functional limitations are some examples of emerging thematic areas. These findings are discussed in relation to contemporary literature to consider strengths and drawbacks for service development in this area of work for hospices.
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