MHA putting music at the heart of resident care
As one of the largest employers of music therapists in dementia care, weekly individual and group music therapy sessions are provided to MHA care home residents. But it’s not just the music therapists making the music happen, care staff are trained and supported in delivering music sessions alongside the music therapists and other musicians.
Music therapy has been proven to ameliorate symptoms of dementia, such as anxiety, apathy, depression and agitation. It therefore plays a significant role at MHA as music therapists are able to observe any changes to a resident’s health and wellbeing, and use this information to inform care staff of changing needs, helping to enhance staff care planning and delivery.
MHA is passionate about seeing people for who they are beyond their diagnosis and in music therapy, music therapists are able to identify a resident’s abilities. They use this knowledge to advise staff on tailoring daily activities to stimulate and exercise these remaining abilities and skills.
MHA is the first care provider to develop a music strategy for all its services. In the future, music therapists will have an advisory role to help staff embed playlists, singing and other musical activities in the everyday life of its service users across all of its services – truly embedding music in dementia care.
When Barbara was choosing to spend every day in her room, watching TV alone since her husband passed away last year, the activity coordinator hoped music therapy would encourage her to participate in something. Barbara had never played a piano before, but in her one-on-one music therapy sessions, she really enjoyed playing a Casio keyboard with keys that lit up to indicate the right keys to play. This was a big change for her and Barbara herself said how much she enjoyed the sessions. Since attending music therapy and using the Casio keyboard, she also began attending the open music group, which was unlike her. Her engagement in playing the keyboard, and the benefits of this on her mood and her cognitive abilities has significantly increased her quality of life. To MHA, the power of music signifies music’s potential to ‘unlock’ something inside.