Developing Relationships Between Care Staff and People With Dementia Through Music Therapy and Dance Movement Therapy: A Preliminary Phenomenological Study


Dementia (London)




Background There is an increasing focus on providing effective psychosocial interventions to improve quality of life in dementia care. This study aims to explore the attitudes and perceptions of staff who participated regularly in Music Therapy (MT) and Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) groups for residents with dementia in a nursing home. Method In-depth interviews were conducted with seven members of care home staff. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results A representation modelling the impact of MT and DMT in a nursing care home. Three main themes were identified. 1) Discovering residents' skills and feelings; 2) Learning from the therapists to change approaches to care practice with subthemes: time, space and pace, choice, following the residents' lead; 3) Connection between staff and residents. Conclusion The model indicated that both interventions performed in parallel helped staff to discover residents' skills and feelings. Although it is a small sample size, this study strongly suggests that MT and DMT can have a positive influence in helping care staff to provide a meaningful care environment.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Caregivers; Emotional Functioning; Interpersonal Relations; Interviews; Long-Term Care Facility; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Receptive Music Methods

Indexed Terms

Attitude of Health Personnel; Dance Therapy; Dementia; Professional-Patient Relations; Dance Movement Therapy; dancing; dementia; psychosocial interventions; staff training

Study Type

Phenomenological Study; Qualitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type