BACKGROUND: People with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) have a combination of severe
intellectual disability, extensive physical impairment, sensory impairments and medical health problems. There
is, however, a lack of evidence-based physical and health-promoting interventions for people with PIMD.
OBJECTIVE: Structured Water Dance Intervention (SWAN) is a new method developed to fill this gap. This paper
reports a protocol for an intervention study which aims to evaluate SWAN with regard to its effects on physiological, psychological and social health-related variables as well as its cost-effectiveness and potential for
implementation in health care.
METHODS: The evaluation of SWAN is performed in a multi-center randomized crossover study. Data is collected
through cortisol measurement, physiological assessments, proxy ratings, video observations and interviews.
CONCLUSIONS: This is one of few attempts to evaluate rigorously an innovative intervention for people with PIMD, a
group that is rarely considered for health promotion interventions. This study will provide important information
about the efficacy, cost-effectiveness and potential to implement SWAN in health care.