N&N helps unlock dementia patients’ musical memories

14:55 22 May 2014

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

A Norfolk hospital has begun using musical memories to improve communication with dementia patients.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is believed to be the first acute hospital in the country to use Musical Mirrors, an electronic music record. The project involves training staff to catalogue the musical favourites of patients with dementia, creating an electronic record with links to clips on YouTube.

Hospital volunteer Heather Edwards, who plays the keyboard twice a month for patients on Elsing Ward, said: “Music can create a way through and help us to communicate when people have lost memory. We spend time with the patient, talking about significant moments in their lives and linking those memories with pieces of music, such as songs from their courting years, hymns or music from their childhood.”

Liz Yaxley, N&N integrated dementia services manager, said: “Music is a wonderful way to connect with patients and helps us to make them feel more relaxed while they are in hospital. The record can be taken home and shared.”


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