New York: Life story work, which involves helping people to record past incidents and present lives, has the potential to help people with dementia, a study has found.
Life story work involves helping people to record aspects often in a book or folder or, increasingly, in music, film and multi-media formats.
Researchers in the study, published in the journal Health Services and Delivery Research compiled evidence on life story work in dementia care through a literature review, in addition to listening first-hand to views of people with dementia, family carers and professionals through a series of focus groups.
Conducting a survey of family carers and dementia service providers, along with an analysis of life story work in care homes and hospital wards, researchers tested the feasibility of doing a full scale evaluation of life story work.
"People with dementia and their family carers have played a pivotal role in identifying key features of good practice in life story work. This includes not assuming that a person wants to do life story work, and respecting the person's wishes about what goes into their life story and who will see it," said Kate Gridley, Researcher at the University of York.
The study identified some improvements in staff attitudes towards people with dementia in care homes where they introduced life story work and improvements in quality of life for some of the people with dementia, although the numbers were small.
The study concluded that life story work has the potential to help people with dementia.