Using creative arts in care homes to improve residents' lives

Creative arts can delight and inspire residents who live in care homes. A new useful online resource, published today, offers practical guidance on how to engage residents in creative arts, such as dance, puppetry and digital arts. The resource offers care teams, including activity providers, many practical ideas on how to get started.

There are lots of examples of how to promote activities in care homes. Being in a choir or sewing in a class can build someone’s confidence as well as their links with others. Providing person-centred care means laying on services which are varied, innovative and meet the needs of individuals; this includes using creative arts. Creative arts in care homes can make a big difference to the lives of residents by supporting them to follow their own interests.

SCIE acknowledges the generosity of The Baring Foundation in funding this resource. Written in association with the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA).

Care Quality Commission key lines of enquiry

Using arts in care homes can help demonstrate that you are addressing two of the Care Quality Commission’s key lines of enquiry (Being responsive and caring). Participation in the arts can no longer be regarded as an optional extra. The resource offers lots of inexpensive creative ideas, adaptable for people with different cognitive function, including those at the end of life.

Film about activities in care home

‘An imaginative use of the arts.’ The resource includes a film featuring Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector for social care at the Care Quality Commission, making that point that activity has to be inclusive. She says you don’t just want a singer coming along and crooning. Residents need to join in. All of this really helps services to respond to people in a way that it takes residents out of themselves. Andrea says it’s great for the residents but it’s also good for the staff; they can have a great day at work. And for those who has a loved one living in a care home, it provides reassurance that their days are fulfilling.

Topics covered in the resource include:

  • Dance
  • Drawing and painting
  • Gardening
  • Making things
  • Puppetry
  • Reading and writing
  • Sculpture and poetry
  • Digital activities

Activity suggestion: Making things in care homes

Improving care home residents’ lives by offering options to make things taps into the creative drive that resides in everybody. It just needs to be unleashed in clever and inventive ways that triggers the imagination and inspires the confidence to try.

This website is a fantastic resource and place to seek guidance.

Activities coordinator

Tony Hunter, SCIE’s chief executive, says:

This resource will be really helpful for those care home staff and managers on the frontline who are looking to continually improve what they offer residents in terms of creative artistic activity. It’s not just about keeping folks entertained; so much can be gained from proper engagement with a range of activities from theatre to gardening. This resource can help all residents to live the life they choose – with creativity.

Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum says:

Being creative is a gift that we all have – we just need to have the right key to unlock it. This new site will provide just that key for the many care providers across the country who are working with residents and people who use services to develop engaging and invigorating activities. We understand how important it is for people to sustain and develop interests, to create, learn and have fun together.

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