Music therapy supporting residents recovering from a brain injury

Chroma’s NMT work with care home residents with brain injuries has one again been demonstrated at Voyage Care, a specialist brain injury rehabilitation service in Cheshire.

It is one of many collaborative techniques the team use to support and encourage people recovering from brain injuries to improve their quality of life and regain their independence.

Two of the residents, Louise* and Joe* worked with a music therapist from Chroma for 11 weeks and both saw considerable improvements in their rehabilitation.

Louise, who understands language but finds it hard to articulate really engaged with the process towards identified outcomes.  The aims of Louise’s music therapy sessions were:

  • To increase her creativity
  • Develop the use of her right arm/hand
  • Advance her verbalisation and language skills
  • Improve her kinaesthetic awareness
  • Develop and improve her socialisation skills

Louise progressed well and would participate in singing along to the tune of any Beatles’ songs or Frère Jacques and would use the names of her family members in place of the normal Frère Jacques lyrics; in this way, the melody acted as a scaffold for a new functional language. Her consultant at the Seddon Suite was so impressed with Louise’s improvement that she continues with the music therapy sessions to aid her recovery.

Joe, who mostly uses single words, also engaged fully with his music therapy process.  The aims of Joe’s music therapy sessions were:

  • Drumming in tune using alternate hands – Joe’s right hand worked much better than his left.
  • Physical exercise to the music – working on copying the rhythm using both hands.
  • Free improvisation – working on Joe’s creativity to the beat and sounds.

Joe’s favourite piece of equipment was the bongo drums. Joe improved weekly during the music sessions and eventually was able to beat rhythmically and responsively along to the music.

Joanne Smith, Therapy Co-ordinator at Voyage Care, said: “Music is something all staff at the brain injury rehabilitation service like to incorporate into the day, the residents especially like George Michael or ABBA on the radio! It’s been wonderful to see the residents respond so well to the music therapy.”

If you are an outstanding healthcare professional that is inspiring change within the healthcare sector, remember to submit your entry to Advancing Healthcare Awards (AHA’s) 2020.

Chroma is a proud sponsor of the Excellence in Neurorehabilitation Award in association with INPA.

* Names changed for confidentiality