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A harpist performing on a hospital ward

Hospital Visits

Improving wellbeing through creative music-making.

Our partnership with two hospitals through the Barts NHS Trust delivers strategic, responsive and engaging health and wellbeing projects for staff and patients.

Through these programmes, LSO musicians and workshop leaders can help to improve mood and wellbeing and create moments of serenity within an often distressing hospital environment, engaging children and older adults.

Children’s Hospitals

Through our partnerships with the Royal London Play Team and the Royal London Hospital School, our LSO musicians and workshop leaders engage with infants and children aged 0–18 years in one-to-one bedside visits and small group sessions. They also work in pre-existing hospital school units, working with children in short-stay wards and reaching out to children living with chronic and long-term illnesses.

‘The music sessions make a big difference to our stay.’ – Mum of long-term patient

The sessions are gentle and spontaneous, taking a cue from the needs of the children. They combine performance, singing, participatory music-making and composition. Through these visits, patients often experience reduced level of anxiety and stress, and are empowered to explore their creative and emotional responses to music, leading to an increase in confidence and self-esteem. The visits also give the opportunity for the children to socialise with each other, supporting their social development, and create chances for families to share a musical moment together.

‘Most of the young people we see on the unit suffer from a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. I believe the workshops provided by the LSO contributed towards re-building their confidence.’ – Hospital staff member

‘Our sessions are a stabilising, hopeful force in a so often unstable environment. Sound mental health is an irrefutable driver of physical recovery. It constantly amazes me that we can make such profound shifts.’  – Vanessa King, workshop leader

Older Adults at Newham University Hospital

LSO musicians and a music workshop leader also visit Older Adult Wards at Newham University Hospital, engaging with people who are undergoing rehabilitation and treatment for a variety of conditions, infections and falls, and over 60% live with from some form of dementia.

Supported by staff from the Dementia and Delirium team, we offer participatory and performance music activities to patients in the wards, visiting bedsides on the wards. The visits encourage social interaction and connection across the bays in a gentle, calming and inclusive way, giving patients the opportunity to discuss their favourite music, lead improvisations and get to know their bedside neighbours.

‘My mother is 92 and has dementia, but she has been out of bed dancing and singing with the nurses saying it was just like when she danced with friends at parties held during the war.’ – Lawrence

‘The regular visits by musicians to the ward lift the spirits of patients, staff and visitors. We staff have so few opportunities to offer our older patients a break from routine, and this is truly wonderful.’ – Consultant Geriatrician, Newham University Hospital

Staff and Volunteer Wellbeing at Newham Hospital

Through our partnership with Newham Hospital, and arising out of a desire from the hospital to support the wellbeing of their staff and volunteers during the Covid pandemic, we developed and continue to run sessions in the staff Wellbeing Hub every month. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to stop by during their lunch break and participate as much or as little as they feel like that day – some staff sit quietly, eating lunch and listening, whilst others choose to create music in the moment together with the musicians, or suggest specific starting points or themes that they would like the players to respond to. The aim of the sessions with staff is to improve wellbeing and a sense of connection, at a difficult time for colleagues within the hospital and NHS environment.

‘It has made me calmer and has made me feel ready to take on the day.’

‘It made me feel glad to be alive. Music really does impact our lives – mentally, emotionally and physically.’ – Newham Hospital staff

Get In Touch

To find out more about our hospital programmes, please contact:

Natasha Krichefski Community Senior Projects Manager

The Children’s Hospitals Programme is generously supported by BBC Children in Need and the Hospital Saturday Fund.

The Older Adults hospital programme is generously supported by the Lambert Charitable Trust.