Hospital Radio Offers Alternative Therapy

Insomniacs and tinnitus sufferers are to be given the opportunity to tune into an alternative form of therapy whilst in Forth Valley Royal Hospital.  The innovative ‘treatment’ will be delivered via bedside radio and will feature soothing sounds including rain, waves, birdsong and snoring!

Future programmes will include a soundscape of the hospital, featuring the noise of the mail and pharmacy robots, patients exercising in the physiotherapy gym, and snippets from the neonatal ward, the renal department and the laboratories. There will also be an episode about dreams and their interpretation.

The Bedside Radio series, which will be broadcast on the Radio Royal’s new arts station Channel 604 from April 27th 2013 , has been produced by NHS Forth Valley digital artist in residence, Mark Vernon, and recording has taken place over the past year. The first programme to be transmitted is called The Tonic Garden, which Mark describes as a sonic survey of soothing sounds, designed to put even the most sleep-deprived patient into a slumber!

He explained:

 I have been trying to find out what sounds people find relaxing. Ironically sounds that actually annoy some folk are pleasing to others. For example one woman told me that her favourites were her husband snoring and a loud clock ticking so I have included these. It’s such a subjective thing but I have tried to make it as varied as possible.”

Mark interviewed Forth Valley Royal Hospital staff, Radio Royal volunteers, people from Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health and members of the public.

 I have tried the results out at on a small audience when I aired an excerpt at an event in Glasgow. The feedback was that it was a very restful experience – some of them felt they were actually drifting off.”

Also scheduled is a programme called ‘A Day in the Life’ which has been recorded in conjunction with people who have experienced mental health difficulties. The main thrust will be radio poems and Mark is bringing their work to life through sound and music.

Each programme will be played on a looped cycle, for a different kind of listening experience where listeners can drop in and out at any point and tune back in later. And Mark is hopeful that other health boards and organisations may wish to broadcast the series.