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Barchester Healthcare teams up with Nordoff-Robbins to pioneer music therapy in its homes

30th October 2006

Barchester Healthcare, the number one provider of high quality nursing and residential home care in the UK, is delighted to announce the official launch of a unique initiative with Nordoff-Robbins to pioneer music therapy in its care homes.

A formal agreement was signed between Barchester Healthcare and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in May 2006, creating the Barchester Nordoff-Robbins Initiative (BNRI). This programme is being led by Stuart Wood, Head Music Therapist, who has been with Barchester for four years.

Music therapy is provided for many of Barchester's residents. On average about 100 residents a week have a session with one of the therapists across the UK, all of which at present have trained for their Masters in Music Therapy with Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.

The ethos of the Barchester Nordoff-Robbins Music Initiative is that music should accompany people on their own personal pathways, and lead them into a fuller experience of themselves and each other. Music therapy is in a unique position to contribute to knowledge and care in this field.

Barchester homes are renowned for their care of residents with dementia and this is just one area where music therapy has been used with great success. Music helps bring people into more awareness of themselves and others, by reviving old 'lost' abilities, and by enabling people to learn new abilities.

Dementia can often be an isolating and limiting illness and music can overcome these effects by drawing people back into creative activities. This helps enormously with managing difficult emotions, with social interaction and for creating community.

There are four BNRI music therapists currently working in Barchester homes, and an additional five posts are being proposed. Barchester plans to gradually increase the number of therapists throughout its 170 homes across the UK.

BNRI will be supporting and facilitating music therapy within the homes whilst working towards raising consciousness and contributing to ongoing research at a wider level. The official launch is being held on Tuesday October 17th at Handel's House in London.

Stuart Wood, Head Music Therapist, Barchester Nordoff-Robbins Initiative, said: "Barchester is delighted to be working alongside Nordoff-Robbins, which is the leading authority on music therapy in the UK. When we started in May it marked a process of real change for our residents and for the music therapists involved.

"Since Barchester began this journey it has already seen significant rewards: it's very gratifying to see the difference music therapy has made to the lives of residents and the improvements in the relationships with their families, friends and carers too."

Rachel Verney, Head of National Outreach, Nordoff-Robbins: "We are looking forward to working further with Barchester Healthcare, and their residents throughout the UK. Music is the core of life and draws people together the world over. Music therapy builds on the knowledge that everyone, no matter how ill, disabled, or traumatised, can respond to music."