Thank You for the Music

Patients and staff celebrate the arrival of a piano at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

There’s nothing like a good old sing-song to beat the blues, and now, thanks to Nicola Doonan, a senior charge nurse at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, patients in a ward for older people are getting the chance to enjoy making music.

Nicola spotted an advert on Facebook, offering a piano – free to a good home or going to the tip tomorrow! Nicola sent a private message and arranged for a van to pick it up. The piano was then unloaded and wheeled through the hospital to its new home in the day room of Ward B21.

Despite needing tuning, several members of staff, have visited the day room in Ward B21 to tickle the ivories. Pictured with some of the patients is Dr Michael Wilson, who broke off briefly from medical duties to provide a mini-recital.

Regular ward volunteer Linda Smart from Grangemouth also welcomed the arrival of the piano. She said: “We are in here every week and some of the patients are very musically minded and they absolutely love a sing-song so the piano is a great idea.”

Ward B21is already involved in the Playlist for Life project where certain patients, with the help of their families, select their favourite musical memories. These could be from a wedding, a 21st birthday, or a favourite song from their school or teen years. The songs are then loaded onto an iPod for them to listen to.

Nicola Doonan says the effect of using music with older people, including those with dementia, can be amazing. She explained: “It not only gives them a feel-good factor and good memories, but also reduces agitation. We have had patients who are not animated at all until we put the iPod on. Then we see them smiling and tapping their hands in time to the music.”

Nicola sees the arrival of the piano as group therapy and is looking forward to more musical moments once the piano is tuned within the next few weeks.