Dancing as a psychosocial intervention in care homes: a systematic review of the literature.


Abstract. Background. There is a need to find meaningful and engaging interventions to improve mood and behaviour for residents of care homes. The demand on care staff might diminish opportunities for them to encourage these activities. Staff anecdotal information attests that dancing as an activity improves mood in residents and staff. Hence, the importance of investigating what dancing brings to the care home social environment.
Aims. To provide a systematic review of the evidence from studies related to dancing interventions for older people with dementia living in care homes.
Method. Electronic databases were searched. Previous reviews were also included, and recognised experts were consulted up to January 2012. Inclusion criteria considered study methodology and evidence that the impact of the dance intervention had been measured.
Results. Ten studies were identified that satisfied the inclusion criteria: seven qualitative and three quantitative. Studies used different approaches such as therapeutic dance, dance movement therapy, dance therapy, social dancing and psychomotor dance-based exercise. There was evidence that problematic behaviours decreased; social interaction and enjoyment in both residents and care staff improved. A few adverse effects were also acknowledged.
Conclusion. The evidence on the efficacy of dancing in care homes is limited in part owing to the methodological challenges facing such research. This review aims to raise awareness of the possibility of implementing dance work as an engaging activity in care homes. We shall also consider options for future dance work research as a means to encourage relationships and sensory stimulation for both residents and staff.

Research Collaborators​
Hughes, J. C., James, I. A., & Rochester, L.