Transforming Communities

Neuro-Rehab project wins NHS award

Congratulations to the LMN musicians, nurses, doctors and patients who participated in the innovation study designed and led by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust and University of Kent's School of Psychology. Patients recovering from brain injuries were prescribed 'doses' of live music. The project won a runner up award last week for Outstanding Innovation in the prestigious EKHUFT Trust Innovation Awards.

The work took place on the Harvey Neuro-Rehabilitation Ward in East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trusts' Kent & Canterbury Hospital, with twice-weekly interactive live music concerts (or 'doses') over a six-week period, performed by professional musicians on the Live Music Now scheme. Family members and friends of patients were welcome to attend.

"We intuitively believe in the ability of music to harness the recovery of injured brain and mind. However, hard data doesn't exist to justify resource allocation." Dr Mohamed Sakel, Director/Consultant Neuro-Rehabilitation, East Kent Hospitals

Significantly, patients taking part in the innovation study showed immediate and spontaneous improvements in standardised measures of happiness and wellbeing. The majority of the data collected illustrated positive trends, with improvements in wellbeing, pain, cognition functioning, independent functioning and mobility. Other benefits included improvements in the perception by patients of the value of self-care, their engagement with other therapies and support for settling new patients into the ward.

Timothy, aged 20, is recovering at Kent & Canterbury Hospital. His father, Devon, wrote to us after the concert, 'Timothy certainly enjoyed the concerts, as he loves music. He was not able to sit through the duration of the first concerts he attended, due to his weak condition. However, he clearly wanted to attend. He placed his hands together to applaud the musicians and initially was not able to clap, but by the last weekend he could, in fact, clap, although lightly. It was important for him to be able to bring both hands together to the midline as a kind of therapy and to recover the ability to clap his hands. We appreciate the work Live Music Now is doing. The program at the Harvey Ward offered an attractive variety of musical styles and the musicians were all of a high calibre. Each of the performers had different ways/styles of interacting with the patients and did a very good job communicating. Thank you, again, for making these concerts possible.'

"The project confirmed that it is possible to bring live music to a busy and resource-intensive neuro-rehabilitation ward without significant disruption. Given the positive reactions of patients and staff, the next step is to conduct a research study that both applies more sensitive measures of well-being and determines how often and what type of music should be played." Dr David Wilkinson School of Psychology, University of Kent

Bob Baker is recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system, 'The music sessions have given me something to look forward to. I have been to four sessions during the time I have been here – the musicians have been very empathetic and enthusiastic. I am recovering fast and have been fairly upbeat, and the music has made me feel good.'

The study is the result of a long-standing research partnership of Dr Mohamed Sakel (Director/Consultant Neuro-Rehabilitation, EKHUFT) and Dr David Wilkinson (School of Psychology, University of Kent) who have completed several studies together on improving care of neuro-rehab patients. Two student researchers (Anna Biller and Katie Richards) designed and administered the measurement system of the programme.

The concert series was supported in part by Golsoncott Foundation, Promenaders' Musical Charities and an anonymous donor. Additional support was provided in kind by Kent & Canterbury Hospital and the School of Psychology, University of Kent. If you would like to further the aims of music in recovery please visit our website or contact [email protected] / 0207 014 2829.


LMN Ensembles/Musicians who took part include:

Fontane Liang (solo harp)

Radigun (fiddle, guitar, songs)

Tom Millar (piano)

Hermione Jones (solo cello)

Evropska Violin Duo

Josh Doughty (West African kora)

Maciek Pysz & Alice Zawadski (guitar, songs, violin)

Antara Duo (flute, harp)

Karelia Duo (cello, violin)

Haddo (melodeon,viola, harmonica)

Albany Piano Trio (piano, violin, cello)


Photography credit: Simon Jay Price


A group of people in a recording studio, singing and clapping hands

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