The impact of an improvised music-making programme on care home staff and family carer well-being: a process evaluation

John Keady In progress  


People living with dementia make up a significant percentage of residents living in care homes and staff training is important in delivering person-centred care. However, whilst studies have been conducted in care homes that have shown the value of music as a way of helping people living with dementia to become more ‘in tune’ with their environment, identity and wellbeing, so far there has not been a similar study that has been designed to evaluate the ‘in the moment’ and ongoing impact of improvised music-making on care home staff and family carers.

Music in Mind is a 20-week music-making programme based on improvisation which takes place in either a community or a care home setting. A typical Music in Mind programme is delivered weekly by specially trained musicians attached to Manchester Camerata alongside a music therapist. A session lasts for one hour and uses percussion-based improvisation: communication is through music, voice and the body and all contributions to the music-making space are valued. People living with dementia, care home staff and family carers all take part in the session.


This study aims to:

  1. Evaluate the ‘in the moment’ and prospective impact of Music in Mind Remote on everyday care home staff practice and family carer experiences/involvement in care
  2. Produce a logic model that will assess factors influencing the effectiveness and scalability of Music in Mind Remote (as the social intervention) to other contexts and in-person environments.

The study will:

  • Examine the interaction between care home staff/family carer wellbeing and exposure and attendance at Music in Mind Remote sessions over time
  • Assess variations in care home staff practice through attendance at Music in Mind Remote sessions by mapping any changes to decision-making, ‘togetherness and connection’, ‘emotional attunement’ and training needs
  • Develop a more robust understanding about any changes to family carer involvement in care following attendance at Music in Mind Remote sessions, paying particular attention to the notion of relational citizenship
  • Propose recommendations to Manchester Camerata and the participating care home providers/staff about the findings of the process evaluation making the recommendations available to the wider social care field as necessary.


The research team will work with two care homes to capture care home staff and family carer wellbeing in being part of Music in Mind and find out how Music in Mind triggers practice change and the context(s) in which this occurs.

By using a range of social research methods, including observations of the Music in Mind sessions, interviews with care home staff and family carers and diary-keeping, the research team will create a logic model about what needs to be in place for the work to be impactful and the opportunities to enhance practice and wellbeing.