Live music hits the right note for patients in critical care

Posted on Mon, 10/12/2018

Critically ill patients at QE Gateshead were treated to a soothing live music session to help them on the road to recovery.

The ICU-Hear project brings gentle acoustic music to hi-tec intensive care units (ICUs) and aims to reduce stress and anxiety during this frightening time for patients as they undergo life-saving treatment.

It is provided by the charity Music in Hospitals & Care (MiHC) which works with professional musicians who perform live in hospital wards, care and residential homes, hospices and day care settings across the UK.

The mini-concerts also aim to increase social interaction, reduce feelings of isolation, improve the ability to reminisce and encourage physical activity.

Thanks to a funding grant from the Postcode Care Trust, the sessions will take place in the hospital every month and are performed by guitarist and singer Sharon Durant.

They are part of a wider programme of activities organised by staff to assist patients’ recovery and improve the quality of their stay in hospital.  

Susie Lawley, Specialist Nurse Critical Care Rehabilitation, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “Critical Care can be a very frightening and clinical place for patients and their families so we are always looking for new ways to try and make it more comfortable and enable patients to feel connected with the outside world.  

 “We always ask patients if they would like to take part in the activity and the feedback we have had from patients, families and staff has been very positive. Some people find it relaxing, others enjoy hearing their favourite songs.

“We find that providing activities such as keeping diaries, visits from family pets and listening to music can all be beneficial during the rehabilitation process.”

The initiative, called ICU-Hear, was started by a former ICU patient at Manchester Royal Infirmary and has now been trialled in multiple hospitals nationwide.

Andy Iredale was admitted to critical care following a fall. He said: “I really enjoy my music and so this was a really nice surprise. You don’t expect to get to listen to live music when you are in hospital! She was a really good singer and it has made me feel happier.”

Jess Ingham, area director for Music in Hospitals & Care, said “Our professional musicians really can help to transform hospital environments by providing individualised music for patients and their families who find themselves in stressful or traumatic situations.  We are delighted to be providing regular ICU-Hear sessions at the Queen Elizabeth in Gateshead.”

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