“Over the last 15 years, rb&hArts has established an innovative arts programme designed to improve the wellbeing of patients, visitors, staff and the local communities surrounding each hospital. Rose Ward and Paediatric Intensive Care (PICU) at Royal Brompton Hospital specialises in the care of babies and children up to the age of 16, with heart and lung conditions, who may need medical treatment or surgical repair. At any one time, there may be up to 50 patients in the Trust’s care.
Young patients face a myriad of complex health challenges – and we know that their personal, social, educational and psychological welfare can be further negatively affected by a prolonged and/or recurrent stay in hospital. To counter this, and along-side the Trust’s Play Specialists we support the world-class clinical care offered to young patients by providing stimulating and educational creative music activities.
Live Music, listening and making, is particularly effective as it engages people of all ages and brings diverse people together, without the need for language. It creates a positive experience even during challenging circumstances which promotes our health and mental well-being. In a healthcare setting, music is also a distraction and provides light relief from the boredom, loneliness and anxiety a child may experience during a hospital stay.
Heather McClelland is a professional singer and experienced music educator. With the support of the Brompton Fountain, Heather provides group and individual workshops for children of all ages and their guardians one day per week. In a typical day, the project will reach 10 to 15 young people of all ages, responding to their needs/who is on the wards.
Heather supports babies/toddlers with singing and playing music by the bedside in PICU. Using voice, props and instruments, these sessions are designed to offer distraction therapy – a recognised approach to helping a child cope with pain or a difficult medical procedure.
For children able to visit the Trust’s Play Room (or if a whole ward wishes to join in), Heather runs creative music-making workshops. With a range of percussion instruments this activity aims to develop music skills, confidence, self-esteem and life skills in a fun and inclusive approach. It sparks imagination and creates a playful space to promote well-being.
With support from Ukulele Kids Club UK and their generous provision of ukuleles Heather will be able to offer workshops and tuition knowing they can continue their learning. Being allowed to take the instrument home supports our ambition to enable young people’s access to music education while they are both in the care of the Trust and back at home.”
Karen Taylor, Arts Manager – rb&hArts