A unique virtual Centre of Excellence has been launched by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The Centre is for anyone who works in, or has an interest in, dementia care, and wants to know more about extending the range of interventions using movement, dance and physical activity to improve the lives of people with dementia.
The Centre of Excellence has been launched by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides a range of community, mental health and learning disability services to the people of Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees andWakefield.
The Centre is a web-based hub that aims to equip healthcare professionals and others working in dementia care with the knowledge and skills necessary to explore and develop the use of movement, dance and physical activity.
Dance Movement Psychotherapy, as it is known, is part of a growing movement concerning the development of arts-based non-pharmacological approaches in supporting people living with dementia and their carers. Rooted in ‘person-centred-care’, it places movement, dance and embodied practices at the heart of this approach.
Dr Richard Coaten, who is a dance movement psychotherapist with the Trust and the Centre coordinator, said, “As the proportion of older people in the population increases, so does the number of people living with dementia and their carers. As the condition progresses, an individual’s ability to communicate deteriorates increasing stress and putting pressure on all those surrounding the person. There is increasingly important evidence that arts and movement based interventions, help maintain wellbeing and self-esteem, improve mood, support relationships and enable communications.
“The way that a person feels is communicated through their body movement their posture and gesture. Becoming more alert to and knowledgeable about the meaning and importance of this non-verbal communication, often with people who have lost verbal communication, opens up new opportunities for relationship and communication.”
The Centre aims to raise awareness of these approaches in dementia care and to deliver professional training, advice and support to facilitate movement, dance and physical activity. The Centre will be a hub of expertise and information and will be a place where people can share ideas and experiences from here in theUKand from all over the world.
Maria Palmer, community service manager for Older People’s Services, said, “This is a really exciting project that has so much potential to help people with dementia. The person-centred approach ensures we deliver training and knowledge that helps improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and their carers. We hope to use our expertise in this field to help other healthcare professionals and for them to embed the work into their care practises.”