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MHA is delighted to have been involved with and contributed to the recent report Live Music in Care thanks to two of our care homes.

From June 2017 to August 2018, musicians from Live Music Now and researchers from the University of Winchester have been working in partnership with MHA and the Orders of St John Care Trust. They have been investigating the impact of music on residents, staff and the general care home environment and worked in our Stratton House and Bradbury Grange care homes with staff and residents.

The programme was delivered by Live Music Now and consisted of an 11-session interactive weekly music programme including training for staff, led by pairs of trained professional musicians.

They found that whilst some people liked differing rhythms and new instruments, and became enlivened, other people were confused and anxious, and withdrew from the activities, preferring more familiar repertoires. Residents were supported and encouraged to express their musical creativity. The involvement of care staff was important in converting experience from the weekly sessions into practice by incorporating music into daily activities.

The research shows that regular music making can enhance the working and living environment for care home residents and staff. Musicians can play an important role in nurturing the well-being of older people in care, and strategic planning established an essential structure and framework for the music programme. In addition music interventions can play a crucial role in awakening a sense of identity, facilitated by musicians and care teams working together.

MHA Policy Manager Dawn Wicks said: “We are proud that there are music therapists in each of our dementia homes but we want to see live music available in every one of our 90 homes. We are pleased to have worked with Live Music Now and look forward to developing our relationship with them in the future.”

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