Creative writing and dementia care: 'making it real'

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Abstract

Background - Health professionals continue to seek ways to promote positive communication and self-worth when supporting people living with dementia. The value of creative writing techniques as part of reflective practice in nursing and caring for older people with dementia needs further exploration. Aim - To introduce creative writing techniques to health professionals as part of dementia-related reflective practice. Method - A local experienced author facilitated creative writing workshops with nine preregistration nursing students (general and mental health), one family carer and five care professionals working with people with dementia. Findings - The student nurses reported that the creative writing exercises felt more ‘real’ than the reflective practice models they had used in their academic and practical studies. Workshop participants also reported they had learnt some creative writing techniques to reduce work-related stress and anxiety. They also saw the impact of writing activities with people living with dementia, which can enable creativity and ‘alleviate the common symptoms of depression and anxiety’. Conclusion - Creative writing techniques can support insightful, reflective dementia focused practice. Implications for practice - Creative writing, as a tool in reflective practice, may enable health professionals and family carers to become confident and creative partners in older people’s care. The added value, time and investment needed to introduce creative writing need to be articulated and acknowledged from within supervision and staffing teams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-254
JournalInternational journal of older people nursing
Volume11
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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