“Patients become much more animated and engaged”

26th July 2022


Olivia Bartley is a Specialist Occupational Therapist on Cherry Ward, an 11 bed assessment and treatment ward for people living with dementia at Bowmere Hospital in Chester.

“It can sometimes be challenging to care for a person living with dementia. Often people can be disorientated and this can lead to distress and confusion. The individual can also experience frightening thoughts or beliefs, which can cause them to feel agitated or anxious.

The ward environment is an unfamiliar place for most people and being with lots of strangers who also have their own issues can be difficult for some people to cope with. Others can be dysphasic, which means they struggle to communicate their needs. This can cause challenges when trying to care for the individual in a meaningful way.”

Music in Hospitals & Care musicians have been visiting Bowmere for over 15 years in the hospital’s intensive rehabilitation wards as well as specialist dementia services.

“Patients engage with the music in lots of different ways. Some like to sit and listen quietly while others prefer to sing along, dance or even play instruments. We sometimes have patients who remain on the ward for a number of months and look forward to the next session.

Afterwards participants are more upbeat and there is a general brightening of mood on the ward. Sometimes people who may have been lower in mood prior to the session have become much more animated and engaged afterwards.”

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