University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has decided to bring music routinely onto its wards for older people and for those with a dementia, following successful trial visits.
It is working together with OPUS, a community interest company that provides music in healthcare settings.
Following the success of previous visits to its older peoples’ wards, OPUS will now visit all three of the trust’s main sites on a weekly basis over the next two years.
Under the scheme, two musicians will be visiting the hospital for a day each week, providing music and song on various wards.
They will engage with patients and staff in music-making, creating an “environment conducive to health and wellbeing”, said the trust. The musicians will also bring instruments for patients to use.
Music and singing creates an “opportunity for patients to reminisce and retrieve memories, which at other times may be lost”, noted the trust.
“The first visit from OPUS was inspiring and overwhelming to say the least.
“Patients with dementia who had found it difficult to communicate beforehand began to respond,” she said. “They clapped, touched, opened their eyes, smiled, tapped and sang.
“It was amazing to be part of and was great to see the positive impact OPUS had on the overall environment, for both staff and visitors to the ward.
Nick Cutts, director and musician at OPUS, added: “We are delighted to be extending our practice at Leicester’s Hospitals to include work with older patients and those with dementia.
“We know from our experience, and from recent research, that live music-making makes a huge difference within hospitals both to the health and wellbeing of the patients, but also to the visitors and staff,” he said.
The OPUS visits began at the trust this September to support national Older People’s Month. The initiative is being supported by the Arts Council and Leicester Hospitals Charity.
Article by Steve Ford, first published in The Nursing Times 3/10/16