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Integrating Music Therapy into NHS Healthcare Settings

Case Study

Music therapy is a well established and evidence based approach that harnesses the power of music to address a wide range of physical, emotional, social and psychological challenges. Here at IMM, we utilise music therapy to enhance the wellbeing of individuals across various age groups and clinical conditions. We have worked across the NHS for many years now, focusing on the incorporation of music therapy techniques to benefit patients, staff and local communities. 

2 year dementia & Alzheimer care placement at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust 

In 2021, a Band 8 music therapist was appointed at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (FHFT) for a two-year period. This role was made possible through funding provided by the Frimley Health Charity and IMM in collaboration with the Utley Foundation. The music therapist became an integral part of the dementia care team, working across four different locations: Wexham Park Hospital, Frimley Park Hospital, Farnham Centre for Health, and Heathlands Care Centre. 


Over the past two years, approximately 1800 patients at Frimley Health NHS Trust have benefitted from music therapy sessions. The impact of music therapy on the wards has been substantial, with patients engaging in one-to-one and group sessions to escalate their rehabilitation. Notably, music therapy has also positively impacted staff members. While patients participate in meaningful activities with the music therapist, staff members feel reassured about the patients' safety and can attend to their own mental health and wellbeing. Staff often join the music groups, either through active participation or observation, and have reported elevated moods and relaxation from the music sessions. 

Benefits of music therapy in dementia & Alzheimer care: 

Research indicates that engaging with music stimulates neural pathways, facilitating memory recall and cognitive engagement. Familiar melodies spark recognition and encourage reminiscence, fostering emotional connections to one's past.  

Music therapy also alleviates anxiety, depression and agitation by providing a unique channel for emotional expression. Additionally, participating in music therapy sessions cultivates a sense of community, transcending verbal communication barriers and promoting social interaction.  

Engaging in music therapy activities also strengthens the bond between caregivers and patients, making it easier for caregivers to assist with everyday tasks.  

Music therapy is a cost-effective and a non-invasive approach to care with an easy infrastructure of work that reduces staffing requirements, offers an easily scalable model of work and no compromise on the quality of care. 


The collaboration between IMM and the NHS exemplifies a comprehensive approach to enhancing the wellbeing of diverse populations through music therapy. By addressing the physical, emotional, social and psychological needs of patients, staff and communities, this initiative underscores the transformative potential of music therapy within healthcare settings. The success of this partnership serves as a testament to the efficacy and value of integrating music therapy into mainstream healthcare practices, offering holistic care and support to individuals across various clinical groups. 

Spoonful of Music: 

IMM's initiative, "A Spoonful of Music," is an example of how intergenerational music therapy can effectively enhance the emotional and social wellbeing of patients and communities within the NHS, specifically working on hospital wards to embed meaningful interaction and purposeful music supporting patients and staff. 

The primary objectives of our ward-based sessions are as follows: 

  • To mitigate the adverse effects of hospitalisation on older individuals while also delivering advantages to children and staff. 

  • To enhance physical well-being for both patient groups. 

  • To foster improved communication skills for both older individuals and children. 

  • To facilitate rehabilitation and promote post-discharge community reintegration. 

  • To enhance emotional well-being among all participants. 

IMM’s work across various clinical groups, such as NICU, Geriatrics, Rehab, Discharge, Dementia, Neuro, and post-discharge rehabilitation, has highlighted the positive outcomes of music therapy for individuals, including improvements in cognitive function, emotional expression, communication and overall quality of life. 

This synergy between music therapy and intergenerational practice within the NHS demonstrates a comprehensive approach to enhancing the well-being of diverse populations. 

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