A/Prof Roslyn Poulos

Home delivered participatory art to support wellness in dementia caregiver and care recipient dyads.


Ros Poulos is a public health physician and Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. Her research has spanned the areas of aged care, injury prevention, public health policy, and the translation of research into policy and practice. She teaches public health, health policy and gerontology and provides supervision to higher degree research candidates.


This paper describes the design, delivery and evaluation of a pilot participatory arts program delivered in participants’ homes by professional artists, to dementia caregiver and care recipient dyads. Six dyads participated for a period of two hours per week for eight weeks. The evaluation employed both quantitative and qualitative methods. Thematic analysis of caregiver interviews suggested benefits for the dyad in three areas: social inclusion, mindfulness, and new dyadic interactions. Some carergivers also benefited through a sense of personal growth and achievement. Caregivers and artists suggested additional positive outcomes for several care recipients, evidenced by emotional connection, self-initiation in creative activity, and reduction in repetitive behaviours.Compared to baseline scores, improvement in scores on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and the Zarit Burden Interview were found for some caregivers. However, the mean differences in scores did not reach statistical significance. Trained professional artists, home delivery, appropriate artistic tasks, and a focus on the interests of the dyad were essential elements of the pilot. The findings of the pilot were limited by the small sample size. We believe the model of service delivery trialled could be readily scaled up, and suggest that an evaluation in a larger study would be worthwhile.

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