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Dorset County Hospital NHS FT

A Right Old Song and Dance involved a storyteller and musician working with patients with dementia while they were staying on Barnes Ward, Dorset County Hospital. The project was funded by a grant from Awards for All.

Artist/musicians Sammy Hurden and Tim Laycock delivered 32, 1½ hour sessions of music, storytelling or conversation over a period of 3½ months in 2013. The project was evaluated through a mixture of reflective journals by the project team and a survey of staff, with input from volunteers and carers.


Tim Laycock & Sammy Hurden at DCHDCH Sketchbook 

Tim Laycock & Sammy Hurden      Sketchbook
Photo: Alex Murdin                                                         

 Key findings:

  • The patient experience of their hospital stay was enhanced, patients were generally more relaxed and increased their mental, social and physical activity during and after sessions.
  • This activity improved nutritional intake, sleep patterns and encouraged physical exercise.
  • Staff empathy for patients was enhanced and there was increased knowledge and insight into the patients’ history and personal narratives for both staff and carers, potentially impacting on care outside the hospital.
  • Overall staff believed that the outcomes of the project were positive and that the programme should be continued – the challenge is to sustain this involvement over longer periods of time.

Download the full evaluation 

Contact: Alex Murdin
Arts Coordinator
Arts in Hospital 




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