Thank you for the music – choir gives patients their voice back
A music group which helps people rebuild their lives after a brain injury is going from strength to strength, after being championed by local NHS staff.
The Aphasia Choir was among the winners last year in Dorset HealthCare’s annual staff innovation contest, Dragons’ Den, where colleagues pitch for extra funding to develop ideas to improve patient care.
Aphasia is an often life-changing condition caused by an acquired brain injury, which affects a person’s ability to communicate. Some people cannot find the right words, put words into sentences or even speak at all.
However, aphasia patients often find it easier to sing, which greatly improves their quality of life.
The Trust’s Acquired Brain Injury Service set up an online choir group during the pandemic lockdown, and it proved such a hit that the team was awarded £1,560 via the Dragons’ Den fund to help make it a long-term offer.
For the past year the Trust's Adult Community Speech and Language Therapy team have been running it and provide regular six-week courses, including face-to-face sessions, for people of all ages.
Speech and language therapist Imogen Johnson said: “Music can help to rewire people’s brains and restore some of their language skills.
“Patients get to choose the music they sing, and we have everything from ‘60s classics through to pop songs of today, so it’s a nice mix.
“But it’s also about having fun and making friends. Aphasia can often leave people feeling isolated, so this is a great way of building positive social networks.
“We wouldn’t still be running the choir now without the support from Dragons’ Den.”
To watch a short video about the Aphasia Choir, visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/dragons-den/videos. The page also features a clip about another Dragons’ Den success story, the Healthy Body and Brain project, a support group which helps local people with mild cognitive impairment reduce the risk of dementia.
And there’s still time to vote for worthy ideas submitted in this year’s Dragons’ Den contest. A total of £10,000 is up for grabs to support new proposals for the benefit of patients, carers and/or staff.
To find our more details about the shortlisted suggestions and vote for your favourites, visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/dragons-den by the end of play on Friday, 24 February.
More than 3,600 votes have already been cast, and the most popular five ideas will go forward to the Dragons’ Den final – based on the BBC-TV series – at the end of March.
Note to editors
- The photo above shows an Aphasia Choir session in Bournemouth.
- Dorset HealthCare provides community health services covering physical and mental health across Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole and Southampton. Community health services include district nurses, health visitors, school nursing, end of life care, brain injury, sexual health promotion, safeguarding children, diabetes education, audiology, speech and language therapy, orthopaedic care and Dorset’s 12 community hospitals.