Aged care residents in Queensland are taking part in online ballet classes as part of a collaboration between an aged care and hospital provider and the state’s ballet company.

The partnership between Queensland Ballet, St Vincent’s Care Services and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane to deliver a tailored online program to aged care residents and hospital patients that combines artistry and movement through activities that mirror a ballet class.

The program has been developed through extensive consultation between aged care staff from St Vincent’s and Queensland Ballet’s Education Teaching Artists and aims to provide participants both physical and emotional benefits.

The digital dance classes, which launched at several St Vincent’s Care Services facilities in Queensland in October, have provided an opportunity for the community to come together during the pandemic, said CEO Lincoln Hopper.

Lincoln Hopper

“Our residents are at the heart of everything we do, so keeping them happy, engaged and connected is our top priority. For me, seeing the impact of this program firsthand, and the way it has ignited something in our community members, makes me extremely proud,” Mr Hopper said.

“I know that at St Vincent’s, we can accomplish so much, even in the face of adversity. This dance initiative has given both our residential and hospital community something to look forward to and enjoy. Bringing just a little bit of joy into their home is what makes everything worthwhile,” he said.

Dance movements have been adapted so participants can them seated or standing. The classes also enable participants to use a range of their abilities and senses and feel a sense of connection by participating with other people.

Queensland Ballet education manager Martha Godber said the digital program allowed participants to experience ballet and music safely where they are.

“This newly created dance health offering has been informed by other evidence-based dance initiatives at Queensland Ballet, including Dance for Parkinson’s and Ballet for Seniors, which continue to stand as weekly pillars of community and social connection for the company and its dance class community,” Ms Godber said.

“We take great pride in the dance health programs that Queensland Ballet delivers and are delighted to be able to adapt the skills and experience of the team to bring a little spark of joy, and perhaps alternate means of physical activity for the residents and patients of St Vincent’s,” she said.

The initiative launched at St Vincent’s Private Hospital on 4 November and will run as a pilot program over the next three months.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane CEO said they are committed to exploring innovative models of care to enhance patient experiences in hospital and at home.

“St Vincent’s Care Services adopts the same philosophy with their residents in aged care facilities,” Mr Steele said.

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