Care staff perspectives of the role of music in the care of people living with dementia

Vella-Burrows, T. (2011) Care staff perspectives of the role of music in the care of people living with dementia. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

Vella-Burrows T 2011 Care Staff Persepctives of the Role of Music in the Care of Poeple Liivng with Dementia_final version.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (3MB) | Preview
PDF (Access Form)
Access to Thesis update signed_.pdf - Supplemental Material

Download (44kB) | Preview


The rationale for this study was grounded in the current emphasis on developing non-pharmacological interventions for people living with dementia in the UK. The study investigated the common practice amongst care staff caring for people living with dementia to commission music activities as a recreational pastime. It examined staff perspectives on the value of these activities and the potential to develop the scope of therapeutic benefits that might simultaneously support the well-being of both the cared-for and the care-giver. It investigated personal and professional factors that might underpin inhibitions to staff training to facilitate music activities themselves and to staff exploring music as an education tool to develop creative and reflective practice. The study sought to generate original findings and to contribute to an evidence base to inform future practice.

Method triangulation involved a questionnaire survey, telephone and face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions and participant observations. One hundred and ninety two participants took part in the study, comprising 149 care staff and 13 music practitioners who collectively worked in one or more of 27 care settings for older people in east Kent, 27 older people and three informal carers. The results showed that musicians and music practitioners were typically engaged by staff to deliver a fairly similar range of activities, around ten times per year on average. Practical barriers to staff taking part in these activities centred on issues of time-tabling and the challenges of balancing routine care-giving with non-routine activities. Psychological barriers appeared to be influenced by: cultural backgrounds; staff experiences of music education at school; preconceptions about musical skill; personal levels of confidence; social pressures; inter-staff relationships; and the relationships that staff have with visiting musicians. Barriers to formal training for staff to explore music as a catalyst for creative and reflective practice also included low or non-prioritisation of music in relation to their care-giving role and a belief that only musical staff would benefit.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dementia; care homes; music; music provision in care homes; singing in care homes; care staff attitudes/perceptions of music; care staff attitudes/perceptions of singing; care staff training/professional development;
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music > ML3800 Philosophical and societal aspects of music. Physics and acoustics of music. Physiological aspects of music > ML3820 Physiological aspects of music
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0512 Psychopathology. Mental disorders > RC0521 Dementia
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music
Depositing User: Dr Trish Vella-Burrows
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2019 16:34
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2019 16:45

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00