Arts from the Armchair

Photographer: Joel Cockrill

Arts from the Armchair: a multi-arts intervention for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and their carers`.

  • A collaboration between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board - BCUHB (NHS Wales) and Theatr Clwyd, led by BCUHB `Creative Well` Arts in Health & Wellbeing team.
  • The project aims to provide a positive, creative and participant led experience, with workshops and performances led by professional arts practitioners, within a theatre context.
  • Supports participants/patients and their carers` in designing activities which help in their management of a life changing prognosis. * Avoids risk of isolation and loss of meaningful social interaction.

Description of the arts activity

It provides additional support to people with MCI, and their carers`, exploring a range of creative activities, whilst promoting wellbeing through improved engagement.

Details of the project participants

The success of the group, as defined by the participants, was that they felt the project supported them to live with their new changed circumstances; their wellbeing was increased, and they were being creative and reconnecting with their cognitive functions through learning experiences.
Specific benefits reported by the participants included increased confidence, rediscovering skills and deriving focus and satisfaction from the completion of creative activities.
There were a number of features of the project which contributed to the success of the group, they were:

  • Quality of relationship with creative team
  • Fun
  • Theatre as home
  • Support to live with their new `normality`
  • Creative challenge stimulating declining cognitive functions and building self confidence

Project management

This partnership project offers an example of implementing a strategy for improving the patient and carer experience and that of public engagement and communication.
* A change toward new ways of working, is exemplified by the arts in health and wellbeing activity and its strategy to support overarching health board goals, as relevant.

Evaluation methods and findings

* ORID Focus Group methodology undertaken.
* An independent evaluation Impact Report was commissioned.
* Captured stories of those with lived experiences to aid communication and make improvements.
“As a result of these small group meetings we have seen disadvantaged members [with mild cognitive impairment] gain confidence and become contributors to the conversation rather than be silent witnesses.”  ( Arts from the Armchair Participant )

Lessons Learnt -Considerations identified:
* Progression routes and exit strategies * Replication  * Evaluation (including methods which include financial valuation, e.g. Social Return on  * Investment (SROI).  * Project programming

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England