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Brightening the wards with music - and helping with rehab

Thank you for the music.

That’s the message from patients and staff on a Neath Port Talbot Hospital ward following a series of performances under the Musical Hospitals programme.

Since the beginning of the year, musicians have been entertaining patients on the hospital’s neurological rehabilitation ward.

But it’s not just good cheer they have been sharing. The music is being used therapeutically to help with the patients’ rehabilitation.

Ward manager Nathan Riddle said: “We wanted to make our approach more holistic, with more people-contact and to make it more engaging. 

“Listening to live music is stimulating for neuro patients, and helps them with their recovery. 

“We’ve noticed how they are engaging with the performance and the impact of their engagement with their rehabilitation.

“It gets them active and moving around, by singing and dancing and clapping. 

“It is really good for them cognitively. They become a lot more settled and there is less expressive behaviour.”

Musicians on NPT neuro ward 

Music Facilitator Iori Haugen and the Swansea Bay University Health Board Arts and Heritage Team have been leading a partnership with a variety of music institutions in Wales.BBC National Orchestra Wales, Welsh National Opera, Music in Hospital and Care, Live Music Now and Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama are all providing  musicians.

The project at Neath Port Talbot Hospital has received £50k funding from the Arts Council of Wales to fill it with music throughout 2024, with a variety of  keyboardists, violinists, harpists and guitarists involved.

Nathan added: “Since this has started, we've noticed the wellbeing of both the patients and the staff has improved. 

“Although staff are busy, if they hear music coming from the lounge and get a chance, they will put their heads around the door to enjoy what is going on.”

SBUHB Arts in Health Coordinator Johan Skre said: “We are extremely grateful to the Arts Council for funding this project and giving us the opportunity to bring some of Wales’ top musicians to the hospital’s wards and public spaces. It would also not be possible without full support from hospital management and ward managers.”

“Engaging with art is good for our physical and mental wellbeing, reduces anxiety and aids recovery. This rings true in the joyful reactions we have seen so far. Our patients and staff deserve all the support they can get.”

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