Hospital uses music to stimulate patients with dementia

Yeovil District Hospital is using music to enhance the way patients are cared for.  Music is being used to stimulate patients in the hospital who have dementia in partnership with Rosie Mead, who has been appointed as Music Coordinator at the hospital.

Rosie visits one of the wards, once a week for an hour and invites patients to join in with a song while she plays her clarinet. This helps those with dementia by enabling them to recall long lost memories, and improve social interaction and communication. Participation in musical activities can boost self-esteem, benefit well-being, and aid recovery. It has been proven that music can reduce agitation and aggression. Music can help restore cognitive function and can be used as a tool for people with dementia to express emotions that they might otherwise have difficulty communicating.

Dementia is a disease in which there is a progressive deterioration of the brain tissue and its functions – it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. One in 20 people at the age of 60 suffer from some form of dementia increasing to one in five at 80 years.

Symptoms include:

  • A diminishing ability to recall recent memories – they may not recognise their nearest and dearest
  • Poor judgment – they may misjudge the heat of the cooker; be unable to judge if they are ill and have problems judging distances
  • Language – use of inappropriate words and the inability to name people, complete sentences, express themselves and understand what is said
  • Daily tasks – getting dressed in the wrong order
  • Hallucinations – they may see things that are not there eg a dog in the ward; snakes in their garden

Anyone who is concerned about themselves or a family member or a friend should make an appointment with their GP.

849 staff from all areas of the hospital have been educated in dementia awareness. Those responsible for patients have been trained to involve carers as much as they can because they are a vital source of help and information in getting to know and understand the patient and can help with communication. 

Rosie said: “I am looking for local musicians to come on board and perform at YDH. I have already formed a link with Yeovil College; with a number of their music students already performing in our Queensway Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre. If you would be interested in performing at the hospital or would like more information about the Music programme please contact me by email or by telephone 07840029955.”

Information from: Health4Media

Further reading:

FHT Member and 2012 Excellence in Pratice award winner, Nicolle Mitchell, explains how a combination of touch, time and appropriate communication can improve the wellbeing of patients with dementia. Read more »

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