Conceptualizing attunement in dementia care: a meta-ethnographic review

Julie Kolbe Krøier*, Orii McDermott, Hanne Mette Ochsner Ridder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Engagement in non-verbal communication positively influences well-being of persons with dementia, but requires good communication skills from caregivers. An important element of non-verbal communication is attunement, but even though communication is essential for persons experiencing severe cognitive decline, attunement has not been systematically examined in dementia care.
A meta-ethnographic review was conducted to investigate the concept of attunement in dementia care.
Six qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria. Three interwoven themes formed a line-of-argument describing attunement with persons with dementia; (1) Taking the perspective of the person with dementia and the importance of person-centred approach, (2) Developing understanding through an empathic approach and (3) Using musical parameters in the interaction: Tempo adjustments, timing and the use of music.
The results bring new knowledge about reciprocity and musical elements in non-verbal communication in dementia care and how these elements potentially increase well-being of persons with dementia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArts & Health
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Attunement
  • dementia
  • meta-ethnography
  • non-verbal communication
  • person-centred care


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