AATH works closely with the hospitals Dementia Strategy Group and Dementia coordinators to ensure the programme reaches and benefits the many patients at the hospital with Dementia. Alzheimer’s society statistics say that 1 in 4 beds in a general hospital are filled with someone with Dementia, and we know that patients with dementia have longer stays in hospital than those with the same medical condition that don’t have dementia. Participation in activities and positive interaction can reduce length of stay as well as improve wellbeing and reduce agitation and anxiety. Art at the Heart strive to provide this through regular engaging music performances from our Musician in Residence Frankie Simpkins and community musicians, as well as high quality arts workshops facilitated by our Artist in Residence Edwina Bridgeman alongside trained and skilled volunteers.
Having written her university dissertation on Music and Alzheimer’s disease and through her work for the Alzheimer’s Society, Musician in Residence Frankie has knowledge of the positive effects music can have on those with Dementia and sees these outcomes on a daily basis. Whilst singing familiar songs to patients she encourages engagement through singing and clapping, and the songs often evoke memories in patients which lead to further conversations that would not have otherwise been had. The music promotes a calm atmosphere and can be seen to improve staff/patient relationships by giving something mutual for both to enjoy together.