Legacy: participatory music practices with elderly people as a resource for the well-being of healthcare professionals

Research output: Ph.D. ThesisPhD Research internal, graduation external

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Abstract

‘Legacy: Participatory Music Practices with Elderly People as a Resource for the Well-being of Healthcare Professionals’ was a qualitative research project into the learning and well-being of hospital nurses and nursing home caregivers working with vulnerable elderly people and participating in live music practices Meaningful Music in Healthcare (MiMiC) and Music and Dementia in the Netherlands.
The data collection (2016-2019) employed an ethnographic approach and data triangulation of participant observation, episodic interviews and group discussions. The constructivist grounded theory approach to data analysis proceeded from sensitising concepts to initial and focused coding, ultimately reconstructed into a thick description merging empirical data, theory and the researcher’s interpretations. The emerging core categories, Participation, Experience and Learning Benefits, were conceptualised within an epistemological framework of philosophical pragmatism.
The findings suggest that, through an emerging community of practice, healthcare professionals could collaborate with musicians to connect with patients or residents. The collaboration enabled the use of shared musical experiences as a resource for compassionate care. Still, allowing oneself to participate musically and showing emotional vulnerability were challenging. The accumulation of ‘experiencing’ and collegial encouragement supported healthcare professionals’ participation beyond their professional performance.
Person-centred music-making resonated with the values of person-centred care. It enabled healthcare professionals to take time and become engaged with patients or residents in musical situations. Healthcare professionals described gaining new understandings of the patients or residents and each other, which could be seen promoting a cultural shift from task-centredness towards relationship-focused person-centred care.
Musicians’ communication provided new professional insights into teamwork. Also, observing patients and residents’ responses to the music evoked sympathetic joy in healthcare professionals. Looking through the eyes of ‘the other’ was central for nurses and caregivers’ meaning-making of the value of music-making and awareness of its impact on patients, residents and themselves. The perceived benefits of the music practices for healthcare professionals’ job resources and satisfaction seemed connected to changes in care relationships, work atmosphere, sense of mindfulness and recognition.
The conclusions of the research suggest that participatory music practices might be considered as supportive of delivering person-centred care. The findings could be applied in training programmes and professional development of musicians, nurses and caregivers.


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Smilde, Rineke, Supervisor
  • Heineman, Erik, Supervisor, External person
Award date4 Nov 2020
Print ISBNs978-94-6332-668-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • healthcare professionals
  • participatory music
  • well-being
  • flourishing
  • music education
  • music making
  • experiential learning

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