Heritage experiences are suggested by the tool, supported by explanations of how certain activities  can specifically support quality of life, health and wellbeing in older people. This includes areas such as pain management, speech, cognitive stimulation, mental health, and social interaction.

The resource features searchable clinical and care outcomes that have been coded to various categories, making its offer entirely unique.

Conceived by outreach professional Zoë Brown and adult nursing professor Dr Juliana Thompson, the new platform lays the groundwork for establishing a new long-term Museums, Health and Social Care Service in the North East.

“The ultimate aim of the project is to use museum resources and collections to support quality of life improvements for older people,” explains Thompson, associate professor of Adult Nursing at Northumbria University.

“Our progress so far has led to the development of this set of activities that will support health and social care professionals to use TWAM’s collection to support a range of healthy ageing and rehabilitation needs.”

Care homes and organisations supporting older people in North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside are all now involved with the project, which is overseen by a steering group of specialists in the fields of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, mental health nursing, social work, and older people’s nursing

“After working on heritage themed creative projects with older adults alongside health and social care professionals for many years, I wanted to help support more professionals to feel confident to facilitate their own heritage projects by sharing resources, skills and linking specific activities with clinical health and care outcomes,” explains Brown, who works as Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ outreach officer for adult health, social care & wellbeing programmes.

Online and in-person training sessions, short instructional films, venue visits, teaching for nursing students and activity loans boxes are all now in development as the team look to build on the progress already made in founding the Museums, Health & Social Care Service.

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