Blog post -
Magic music medicine at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
Andrew Nugée, London. Our first project with the health sector is underway, and what a great way to start! Not many of us look forward to spending time in hospital, but one London hospital is doing its best to mitigate the experience.
Chelsea and Westminster is no ordinary hospital. It is our local hospital in London, for one thing. But it is also a registered museum, with 1,500 works of art on the wall – and hanging from the ceiling. And pioneering research at the Chelsea and Westminster a decade ago showed the clearly beneficial effect of visual and the performing arts on medical outcomes. What does this mean? If music and the performing arts could be packed into pill-form and taken before meals, it would be a wonder drug to leave broccoli in the dust. Research conducted over a number of years at the Chelsea and Westminster was able to show that the integration of the visual and performing arts in healthcare reduces the amount of drug consumption, shortens the length of stay in hospital and improves patient management – and that is just the effect on the patient.
Working with the Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, our project kicks off on the mediaPacker player, linking carefully chosen pieces of music to specific works of art in the hospital. The mediaPacker is ideal, since in ‘visual confirmation’ mode, it shows an image of the painting to direct your attention to it, while you listen to the music. Part of the plan is to get patients out of bed and mobile, to speed their recovery. But if it allows them to appreciate their unique surroundings in a different way, this might begin to redefine the hospital experience altogether.
- music therapy
- audio tour
- audio guide
- chelsea and westminster