Rhythmix is a music charity that believes in the power of music and culture to transform people’s lives. They received a £6,300 grant from our American Express Fund last year to fund their Wishing Well project for people with dementia to bring live interactive music to two community hospitals in West Sussex.
The very high numbers of people with dementia admitted to community hospitals presents a huge challenge to nursing staff, most of whom lack capacity and specialist training to engage with them effectively. Admission to hospital, with the sudden change in environment and the loss of familiar things, people and routine, can make the symptoms of dementia much worse, leading to a severe decline in wellbeing. Hospital staff say there is no music provision in these settings and very little they can do to support the wellbeing of people with dementia.
“Science is showing us that the part of the brain that is stimulated by music is one of the last parts of the brain to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dementia Specialist Lucy Frost. “Music elicits an extraordinary response from people, even in advanced stages of dementia. Music stimulates memory, reconnects to language and helps people connect outwards again to people around them. It becomes difficult for people with dementia to say what they need and how they feel. Music helps us form a rapport with individual people, which helps us look after them better.”
The Wishing Well programme works in partnership with NHS Trusts across Sussex including Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (dementia assessment units), Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust (The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and Emerald dementia ward) and East Sussex Healthcare Trust (Conquest Hospital children’s ward).
Click here to see a recent news piece about Rhythmix on BBC TV South East Today.