STROKE

We started playing for three female patients in a bay on a stroke ward. Several staff were present, and one lady woke up and immediately smiled and engaged with the music. Unable to speak, she was clearly appreciating the music, raising her hands, moving in time and nodding approval for us to continue. Very moved, a nurse came over, knelt beside her, held her hand, sang along and encouraged her to sing too. We played Wonderful World and she began vocalising and as the song progressed her vocalisations matched the words more and more. By the end of the song she managed “I Love You”. The nurse was overjoyed and so was she, continuing to use her voice lots to try and communicate. Two members of her family arrived and were clearly moved as we sang Wonderful World again, her words noticeably improving as we went along. The nurse commented afterwards that this had been a real breakthrough, saying “to see my patient respond so well to music is priceless”. As this unfolded six other members of staff were watching and really enjoying the moment. Over the subsequent weeks this patient always asked for us to visit her, with family and staff telling us how excited she is before we arrive. Each week she sings a bit more of each song as her speech improves and plays along more on shakers and the xylophone. As a nurse said at the end of one session “That’s the power of music.”

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