This thesis describes the development of a new intervention involving co-led mutual support groups in long-term care facilities (LTCF) and the evaluation of its process, structure and content. Tom Kitwood’s Model of Personhood was used as the basis for developing "The Little Java Music Club", a weekly discussion group using themes chosen by participants and supportive materials, e.g. related music and photographs. A mixed methods qualitative process evaluation was used, utilizing focus groups, systematic observation of six resident groups, individual resident interviews and staff interviews in three LTCF in British Columbia, Canada. A majority of the residents reported positive benefits with themes generated around support, companionship and empowerment. Group observations showed increased active participation during and after the sessions. In their interviews, staff described how the unique program structure fostered sharing on a deeper level and how it empowered residents with moderate to severe cognitive impairment.
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