Playlist for Life is working to bring the benefits of personally meaningful music in dementia care to as many people as possible, wherever they may be in the UK.
We provide guidance and training (including certification), a community of inspiration and opportunities for volunteering. We collaborate on research. We encourage evaluation. We arrange formal and informal partnerships with other organisations practising person-centred care. We raise awareness through our website, social media and public speaking.
Playlist for Life is a charity registered in Scotland ((No. SC044072). Its brand “Playlist for Life” is registered as a European Trade Mark (EU 014777734). Its only website is at http://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/#. and emails from it will be sent from the playlistforlife.org.uk domain. It has not authorised any other person to use “Playlist for life” to do anything, anywhere
We respond to requests from a growing number of partners seeking our help to introduce personal playlists in their work. So far these include a majority of the Scottish NHS Board acute divisions, NHS hospital trusts in England, care homes and care home groups. Initial discussions are usually followed by a request for staff training.
Training for families and professional caregivers
While it is often easy for a close relative to compile a playlist that taps into their loved one’s life story, it can also be a challenge, particularly when someone has no relatives or friends to ask. Our training explains some of the science behind the model and also covers the detective work needed to find out more about someone’s life and what has been important to them, as a guide to choosing the music most likely to resonate with them as individuals. It also deals with the challenges of integrating this intervention into a busy institutional setting.
Research and Evaluation
Rigorous research and continuous evaluation of the benefits we are promoting is of critical importance. We hope this will ultimately enable policy-makers to assess the suitability of this non-pharmacological intervention for roll-out across the UK as a post-diagnostic tool in the treatment of all forms of dementia.
1. The App
We are collaborating with Glasgow Caledonian University to evaluate the work of Playlist for Life and to develop an innovative app that will support and enrich the work of the charity, while providing researchers with vital data.
This work is underway and has been funded to date by Alzheimer Scotland, Digital Health and Care Institute, the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation( to evaluate Playlist for Life’s efficacy among people living with dementia in Edinburgh and the Lothians, including those attending memory clinics and in the home), the UK government’s Department of Health and Nesta.
2. Research in Acute Care
Glasgow Caledonian University PhD student and Playlist for Life associate Anna Paisley is conducting a world-leading series of investigations to design, develop and empirically evaluate a personalised music-listening programme for people with dementia in acute care. The intervention will be assessed to identify outcomes and opportunities for individuals with dementia, healthcare providers and informal caregivers.
3. Emotional Touchpoints
All the NHS hospitals carrying out Playlist for Life pilots are preparing evaluations based on simple observational studies using what are called “emotional touchpoints”. We will publish these as they become available.
Initial conclusions by NHS Borders are that the use of personal playlists has resulted in fewer periods of stress and distressed behaviour and fewer instances of resistance to care. Patients have been described as being more engaged and involved in their care and in social activities. These early findings were presented at the national Person-Centred Health and Care Collaborative conference in Glasgow in November 2014.
An evaluation is also underway in the Crossreach care homes across Scotland.
In order to make the best use of our resources and promote sustainability, we do not manage projects ourselves but support partners in a range of care settings to develop and run their own Playlist for Life projects by providing training and ongoing support.
One of our most thriving partnerships is with Opera Holland Park in London, who are delivering successful Playlist for Life projects in care homes and day centres in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, including in the famous Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Setting up Volunteer Hubs
We are organizing a volunteer base and training selected volunteers to set up Playlist for Life hubs across the UK.
We urge anyone with a used iPod to donate it. We return these to factory settings and send them, when available, to those who cannot afford to buy one.