Helen Skinner has been using Playlist for Life in a professional care context since 2015 and has twelve wards fully trained in the use of personalised playlists across NHS Fife.
Helen shares her success using personally meaningful music in an article she wrote for healthandcare.scot. She takes us back to when she first encountered Playlist for Life after reading Sally Magnusson’s book, ‘Where memories go’ in 2014 and how keen she was to use personalised playlists in the professional care setting: “I was fascinated and desperately wanted to get involved to establish how we could implement music to support our patients in a hospital environment (…) the process for curating playlists is simple to learn and put into practice.”
The impact of using personally meaningful music was immediate, with Helen pointing to the many benefits: “From improved moods and increased communication, through to implementing ‘therapeutic scheduling’, whereby providing the patient with music prior to a stressful activity such as taking blood or showering, we find the music helps to relax and calm patients with little or no need for medication to be involved at all. (…) In particular, on mental health and community hospital wards where patients are usually in for longer durations, it’s an excellent tool to increase communication and encourage discussion between patients and staff.”
The implementation of Playlist for Life has not only benefited people with dementia in the wards, but also staff and relatives experience the positives of using personally meaningful music. “Through Playlist for Life, staff feel they get to know their patients on a deeper level, opening new streams of conversation and singing and dancing along to soundtracks with them, allowing them to get to know and understand the person rather than their diagnosis. (…) We’ve also had wonderful feedback from relatives, who are often desperate to support their loved ones by any means possible. Utilising music gives them the opportunity to reconnect, as they help their friend or family member collate their playlist whilst providing them with an engaging task to enjoy together while they’re visiting.”
To hear more from Helen and other care professionals on the power of personalised playlists in dementia care, view the video below.
If you’re interested in embedding playlists in a care setting, our training website offers a wide range of courses for individuals and organisations, sharing the knowledge and skills you need to use music in your own work.