New Harmonie working in local hospitals
Wednesday 18th June, 2008
One person dies every five hours as a result of a fall in the home. Falling is the most common cause of accidental death amongst older people. It causes an estimated 36,000 serious injuries each year, at a cost of £981 million to the Government.
In West Sussex, our patients are trying things a little differently for National Falls Prevention Week. A quartet of musicians from New Harmonie (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon) will be working with local physiotherapists to see if their exercise sessions in a Falls Clinic would be enhanced by working with live musicians rather than the normal taped music.
In October 2007, New Harmonie carried out a one off session at Horsham Hospital funded by Horsham District Council. The evaluation conducted amongst patients and staff confirmed that it was an idea worth pursuing. The West Sussex North Horsham County Local Committee has provided funding for three more sessions in June 2008 coinciding with National Falls Week. These are being treated as pilot sessions and if successful a grant application will be made to Awards for All (Lottery) for a more extended project in 2009. The project is also linked to a similar New Harmonie pilot in the Crawley Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at Crawley Hospital and is funded by West Sussex East and West Crawley County Local Committees.
Geoffrey Richardson, lead member of New Harmonie said, ”This is a completely new venture for us. In Horsham Hospital we work closely with the physiotherapy staff who run the sessions and control the length and speed of the musical accompaniment. There is also plenty of scope for interaction between players and patients which adds to the atmosphere and enjoyment. In our evaluation, patients said they much preferred working with live musicians, would look forward to the sessions and put more effort into their exercises”.
Maureen Francis, Falls Prevention Manager at Horsham Hospital said, ”The presence of the musicians creates a lively and productive environment which helps motivate the patients. There is good evidence amongst patients of greater participation, less anxiety, better concentration, increased awareness and greater enjoyment.
Maureen continued, “We believe that over more sessions, there will be a strengthening of these positive outcomes helping patients make greater progress in recovery and thus be able to resume their lives more speedily living at home and in the community”.