The Redwoods Centre is a mental health inpatient facility in Shrewsbury. It also welcomes people from the community to its bistro area and light filled atrium, where Music in Hospitals & Care musicians play every month.
Jessica Kent is the Arts for Health Lead for Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. She tells us why the live music is beneficial for patients, staff and family members.
Bringing live music to either the ward or in a public area provides the patients with a moment of relaxation and allows them to tune into a different kind of vibe. It’s important for our staff because it cuts through the dynamic of the ward.
“Our live music programme is really important for the people at Redwoods. On any given day it’s very busy, very hectic and they don’t get much privacy. There are other activities, but bringing live music to either the ward or in a public area provides the patients with a moment of relaxation and allows them to tune into a different kind of vibe.
It’s also an opportunity for them to engage really positively with the musicians, to talk about their favourite artists and maybe make a request. It’s important for our staff because it cuts through the dynamic of the ward. They might be having a really hard day if people are very poorly, but then I see them having a little dance and it helps them.
We have two musicians that come monthly from Music in Hospitals & Care, one at the Redwoods Centre and one at St George’s Hospital in Stafford and they alternate. The musicians have obviously been selected for their high standard of musicianship and experience of working in a range of health settings. It makes our job much easier because we can relax knowing they’re going to deliver a great hour of music. They’re very professional and know how to engage the patients; they read the room and adjust their set accordingly.
What we value about the partnership with Music in Hospitals & Care is the understanding really — of healthcare settings and particularly mental health. They understand that it’s a little bit more difficult than in a general acute setting, so the Live Music Coordinators are able to advise on the type of musicians and what might be suitable.
They provide us with everything we might need ahead of the day and are always on hand for a chat. They just get it.”