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Innovative music therapy programme helps people living with dementia

Four care and nursing homes in East Lancashire have received training and materials to enable them to embark on a programme to offer therapeutic music interventions for people with dementia living in a care setting.

Playlist for Life was founded in Scotland and is a charitable organisation offering training and research into the benefits and impact of music interventions for people living with dementia.

Whether it is music from a first dance, lullabies from childhood or a theme tune from our favourite TV show, music has the ability to take us back in time and remind us of our past giving us the opportunity to connect with the present.

Those care establishments and families who have put together a meaningful playlist and made the music available at key times for people with dementia have observed improvement in mood, awareness and the ability to understand. Connecting with others through music also helps promote a sense of identity and independence.

The programme is funded by NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The CCG is committed to supporting opportunities for care and nursing homes that enhance the quality of care provided by making training and support available for such innovative ventures to happen.

Experts across the local economy for health and social care, including Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Care Foundation Trust are supportive of this new scheme and are looking forward to seeing and hearing the impact the music interventions have with the person, family and staff members.

Adele Thornburn, Nursing and Quality Manager for NHS East Lancashire CCG, said,

“This has been the first cohort of care homes who have applied for the training and we have two more planned throughout the year. It is hoped that the message will spread and more care homes, carers and family members will come on board to have the unique experience of reconnecting with people with dementia through music.”

The care homes that have taken part allocated four members of staff to come along to the training. The afternoon allowed the staff to develop their knowledge but also demonstrated their enthusiasm and passion to embark on an innovative path in the delivery of personalised care.

Paula Bond, Activity Co-ordinator from Holme Manor Care Home, said, “We welcome the opportunity to implement Playlist for Life in our care home. We have seen the benefits that music can have for all people and we’re really excited to get started.”

Family members were also invited to have a briefing for the scheme and all who attended were eager to be involved. One family member showed a video of her relative singing and laughing when listening to her favourite music. Another relative recognised that, “It’s difficult to know what to say or do sometimes when visiting a relative in a care home who often doesn’t remember or finds talking difficult. Music is a great way of sharing and having fun and it can be for all ages too.”

If you would like to know more about Playlist for Life please visit the website: www.playlistforlife.org.uk

If you would like further information on the local scheme please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.