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Playlists reduce medication – Lillyburn Care Home

Playlist for Life has worked with Lillyburn Care Home and the Birdston Day Care Centre for many years. Like all care homes, nursing staff at Lillyburn sometimes must administer sedative drugs to calm residents for agitation and distress – both common symptoms of dementia.

In 2018 music helped bring about a 60% drop in the use of sedative drugs at Lillyburn, proving the powerful effect personal playlists had on residents’ moods. 

After introducing playlists into dementia care, the GPs who work with the home were so impressed with results that they started entering playlists on the residents’ medical records. Now, staff at Lillyburn will reach for music before medicine.  

The BBC visited Lillyburn to meet the staff and residents to find out more about the power of personal playlists. They filmed with resident Lorna, whose smile and laughter proves that you can still be happy and spread joy while living with dementia. You can watch the BBC report below.

“Initially I was a bit sceptical that prescribing it was actually going to make a difference, but it seems as though it reinforces to the staff that this is a good thing to use, which then means they need to use less medication.”

Dr Janet McMillan, Lillyburn Care Home