Neurologic music therapy project at Charing Cross Hospital sees improvements in stroke rehab

A neurologic music therapy (NMT) service at Charing Cross Hospital’s acute stroke ward has resulted in significant improvements in the treatment of patients recovering from strokes. Click here to read the full project report.

Run by Chroma, the UK’s leading national provider of (NMT) in partnership with Imperial Health Charity and Imperial Stroke Services, 83 patients received NMT in conjunction with other rehabilitation therapies, such as physio, speech, language and/or occupational therapies to accelerate recovery. The therapy also helps patients effectively manage the emotional demands of life immediately after a stroke.

Funded by Imperial Health Charity, which supports Charing Cross and the other four hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the nine-month project has seen improved rehabilitation and patient outcomes as well as increased staff and carer use of music as a ward-based activity.

As a result of using music as a treatment modality via NMT, the Stroke service saw: enhanced holistic goal-setting, and improvements in well-being and mood post session.  Additionally, as a result of NMT intervention there were improvements in individual patient outcomes across impairment domains (sensorimotor, psychosocial, speech and language, cognitive), with a knock-on effect for some patients on independence in activities of daily life’.

In one treatment, a stroke patient who had difficulty walking and initiating movement, saw a mean average increase of 17 per cent in ‘steps per minute’ as a result of rhythmic auditory stimulation that, using a piano accompaniment, helped with imitating movement. As a result, the patient went from using a frame, to walking unassisted in a single session and therapists were able to start referral for early supported discharge.

Staff on the ward also felt that NMT had enhanced the traditional therapeutic interventions offered and that it had a positive and supportive impact on patients. The vast majority (88%) of staff felt working with the music therapist gave them the chance to learn new skills.

Speaking at an event on 4 September to celebrate the success of the project, Karima Collins, clinical lead speech and language therapist, said: “Led by a team of occupational, physio, music, and speech and language therapists, the delivery of music therapy has been enthusiastically received by patients, staff, and family members across the ward, and there is now demand for music therapy on both the hyper-acute and in-patient rehabilitation wards.

“As a therapy team it’s been great to work collaboratively with the music therapist to facilitate greater functional, social and quality of life improvements for patients.”

Daniel Thomas, joint managing director at Chroma, added: “We believe that the project has been very successful both in terms of delivering the original project aims as well as in its integration of NMT into the acute ward environment. This has never to our knowledge been trialled before.

“It would be great to be able to extend the project so that we can continue to enhance the use of outcomes measures to track patient progress and seek to empower volunteers and next of kin to increase the intensity of therapy using music as a treatment modality post discharge.”

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: “As the Trust’s dedicated charity, we are proud to support innovative projects that make a real difference to patient care. Chroma’s NMT project at Charing Cross Hospital has been hugely successful, not only in improving outcomes but also in creating a more positive hospital experience for patients.”

Click here to read the full report.