Nightingale House has introduced a comprehensive programme to show the positive impact live music can have on the lives of older people in residential care settings, through lectures and workshops delivered by leading thinkers and policy-makers in the field of arts, health and wellbeing.

In conjunction with Live Music Now, an organisation which works with a diverse range of people to create connections through music, and the London Arts in Health Forum (LAHF), Nightingale House devised a schedule of activities to explore the contribution of live music to quality provision in adult social care. Workshop sessions focused on how to bring music to life in care homes, bridging the gap of social isolation through musical engagement, the development of the Playlist for Life Project and working with Nordoff Robbins, the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK.

Alastair Addison, Head of Activities at Nightingale House, said: “The conference is another example of our innovative music strategy, as part of our wider commitment to delivering person-centred care. Through our music programme, we have seen our residents come alive as the music aid communication. It creates life, energy and gives our residents a voice! The added bonus is that the relationships between staff and residents are strengthened as the music allows our staff to see each resident as a unique individual.”

The conference is just one example of Nightingale House’s wider music strategy, directed by Head of Activities Alastair Addison, developed to enhance the lives of its residents as part of a holistic care programme. Last year, Nightingale House hosted Live Music Now musicians, including a vocalist and flutist, for a 10-week residency programme of musical engagement through which musicians worked with the same group of residents to lead on a journey of musical discovery

Key-notes speakers included members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Arts Health and Wellbeing, which published an enquiry entitled Creative Health in 2017. Co-Chair of the group, the Rt Hon. the Lord Howarth of Newport MP CBE, reviewed potential policy recommendations aimed at incorporating greater use of the arts and music in health and social care.

Deborah Bull CBE, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet and now Assistant Principal for London at King’s College London, addressed residents, staff and researchers at the Conference, and discussed the role of the arts and music in developing health through life course.

Other conference attendees included leading practitioners from arts, health and social care, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, Gemma Jolly, Knowledge Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, Rebecca Blackman, Celebrating Age lead at Arts Council England and Evan Dawson, Executive Director at Live Music Now.