Material objects and olfactory stimuli: developing a multi-sensory stimulation intervention for people with dementia living in care homes

D'Andrea, Federica ORCID: (2022) Material objects and olfactory stimuli: developing a multi-sensory stimulation intervention for people with dementia living in care homes. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

[thumbnail of D'Andrea - PhD Thesis Final (June 22).pdf]
D'Andrea - PhD Thesis Final (June 22).pdf - Accepted Version

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Background: Multi-sensory stimulation intervention is a sensory approach that has received interest within the field of dementia care. This is consistent with the literature highlighting the importance of promoting opportunities for appropriate sensory experiences for people living with dementia. The encouraging results on object handling as a well-being focused intervention and the unique relationship between olfaction, memory, and emotion, prompted exploration of the therapeutic potential of tactile and olfactory stimulation for people with dementia.
Aims: This research aimed to explore the potential of multi-sensory stimulation and develop a novel theory- and evidence-based multi-sensory stimulation intervention (MSI) for people with dementia living in care homes.
Method: The study followed the Medical Research Council framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions. A background literature review of multi-sensory stimulation interventions, a scoping review of object handling interventions, a rapid and realist review of olfactory interventions, including online surveys (n = 20), were conducted to identify relevant evidence and theories. To inform the MSI design, one-to-one interviews with stakeholders with expertise on olfaction (smell) (n = 5) and heritage objects (n = 2) took place. In addition, a series of qualitative taster sessions with care professionals (n = 4), relatives of people with dementia (n = 5), and older people without a diagnosis of dementia (n = 4) were conducted to identify areas for refinement and to ensure the acceptability, practicability, and appropriateness of MSI design.
Results: The results of the literature reviews formed an evidence base from which MSI was designed alongside the findings of the interviews with olfactory and archival experts which helped to answer a number of questions in relation to the materials and procedures of the first MSI version (MSI-1). Findings from the taster sessions highlighted the potential benefits of the multi-sensory stimulation interventions to people with dementia in supporting individual expression and relationship building, and identified strategies for promoting engagement and participation within the intervention sessions. The stakeholders’ feedback on MSI-1 resulted in a refined second version (MSI-2), that included tailored and inclusive materials and themes, and the creation of guide and resources for supporting care professionals in the preparation and delivery of MSI.
Conclusions: The study demonstrates the importance of material objects and olfactory stimuli and their benefits within dementia care, resulting in an innovative intervention that can support people with dementia to access sensory, engaging, and enjoyable activities in care home settings. The study contributes to knowledge by developing a better understanding of olfactory and object handling interventions, identifying their theoretical underpinning, and by making recommendations for optimal content, and delivery of multi-sensory stimulation interventions within care home settings. Future research should explore the use and efficacy of MSI in care settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Medicine and health > Clinical medicine > Dementia
Depositing User: Federica D'Andrea
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 14:28
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 13:30


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