• An integrative systematic review of creative arts interventions for older informal caregivers of people with neurological conditions.

      Irons, J Yoon; Garip, Gulcan; Cross, Ainslea J; Sheffield, David; Bird, Jamie; University of Derby (PloS, 2020-12-07)
      We aimed to assess and synthesise the current state of quantitative and qualitative research concerning creative arts interventions for older informal caregivers of people with neurological conditions. A systematic search was employed to identify studies that examined creative arts interventions for older informal caregivers, which were synthesised in this integrative review. We searched the following databases: MEDLINE, PubMed, EBSCO, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. We also backwards searched references of all relevant studies and inspected trials registers. Of the 516 studies identified, 17 were included: one was quantitative, nine were qualitative and seven used mixed methods. All included quantitative studies were pilot or feasibility studies employing pre- and post-test design with small sample sizes. Studies varied in relation to the type of creative intervention and evaluation methods, which precluded meta-analysis. Large effect sizes were detected in wellbeing measures following singing and art interventions. The qualitative synthesis highlighted that interventions created space for caregivers to make sense of, accept and adapt to their identity as a caregiver. Personal developments, such as learning new skills, were viewed positively by caregivers as well as welcoming the opportunity to gain cognitive and behavioural skills, and having opportunities to unload emotions in a safe space were important to caregivers. Group creative interventions were particularly helpful in creating social connections with their care-recipients and other caregivers. The current review revealed all creative interventions focused on caregivers of people living with dementia; subsequently, this identified gaps in the evidence of creative interventions for informal caregivers of other neurological conditions. There are encouraging preliminary data on music and art interventions, however, little data exists on other art forms, e.g., drama, dance. Creative interventions may appeal to many caregivers, offering a range of psycho-social benefits. The findings of the current review open the way for future research to develop appropriate and creative arts programmes and to test their efficacy with robust tools.