Hospital team shortlisted for prestigious award

A programme which brings live music to the bedsides of seriously ill children at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton has been shortlisted for a prestigious patient care award.

As part of the “Wishing Well” partnership between the Rhythmix charity and staff at The Alex, musicians come into the Critical Care Unit three times a week. Their music making helps relieve some of the stress, anxiety and isolation that children and families can experience in hospital.

The programme, which has been shortlisted in the Compassionate Care Category of the annual Health Service Journal awards, puts instruments into the hands of the young patients, giving them the opportunity to have fun and express themselves.

The musicians are all trained specifically to work in hospital with children of all ages, abilities and needs. By working closely with the healthcare staff they take music making beyond entertainment – improving the experience of patients and their wellbeing.

Janet Lee, Children’s Critical Care Practitioner, at The Alex, said: “For some of our patients the critical care ward is the only experience of life they ever have. For others it’s a traumatic change from their usual world. Our challenge is to meet both their medical and non-medical needs, to build positive memories during difficult times. This programme also gives us a different way to communicate with our babies and very young children and helps us to build a rapport with them.”

The Wishing Well programme has proved so successful it is now being rolled out in medical, surgical and oncology wards and also on the specialist dementia ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.