Strategies for diversity : The work of medical clowns in dementia care for the elderly : an ethnographic study

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Strategies for diversity : The work of medical clowns in dementia care for the elderly : an ethnographic study

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Strategies for diversity : The work of medical clowns in dementia care for the elderly : an ethnographic study
Author(s) Rämgård, Margareta ; Carlson, Elisabeth ; Mangrio, Elisabeth
Date 2016
English abstract
Background: As nursing homes become increasingly diverse, dementia care needs a wider range of culturally responsive strategies for individual and collective social interactions. While previous studies conclude that medical clowns have positive effects on verbal and non verbal social interactions, research is lacking from the perspective of residents’ cultural background. Aim: The aim of this study was to identify interaction strategies employed by medical clowns in culturally diverse dementia care settings Method: An ethnographic approach was used and data were collected through observation of interactions between medical clowns and residents with dementia in two nursing homes during a ten week period. Results: The observations showed that the medical clowns interacted with residents by being tuned in and attentive to the residents as individuals with a unique life-history, confirming each person´s sense of self. The clowns used sensory triggers, encouragement and confirmation in culturally responsive ways to bond socially with the residents in their personal spaces. The clowns involved objects in the daily environment that were meaningful for the residents, and paid attention to significant places and habits in the past. The clowns further contributed to joint interaction in the common spaces in the nursing homes, using music and drama Conclusion: The strategies employed by medical clowns in activities with older people with dementia appear to support social interaction. The medical clowns used the social and material environment in culturally responsive ways to strengthen individuals’ sense of self, while contributing to a sense of togetherness and interaction among residents in the common spaces. Findings suggest that both verbal and non-verbal cultural content affected social interaction. The non-demanding encouraging way the clowns tuned in to the residents as individuals could help nurses and staff members improve ways of communication in social activities inside the nursing home.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12877-016-0325-z (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher BMC
Host/Issue BMC Geriatrics;16
ISSN 1471-2318
Pages 152
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Ethnography
Medical Clowns
Persons with Dementia
Cultural activity
Medicine
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/21296 (link to this page)

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