- Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
- Acoustic instruments
over the span of a year and a half
Bringing Everyone Together: Music in Long term care during a Pandemic
This project brought music to residents of Columbia Forest Long Term Care (LTC) during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time of incredible unpredictability, isolation, fear, and change. The project transformed into using music to bring together LTC staff, residents and family members in a stressful time where there was more focus on “distance” than unity.
The Project Goals were:
- To create a sense of unity and belonging
- To unite and bring together residents and staff in long term care (LTC )homes
- To empower residents in expressing themselves through musical creations
- To encourage and empower staff to use music throughout their work day
- To use music as an opportunity for staff and residents to engage and relate to each other
- To use adaptable music experiences when needed to fit an ever changing environment
This project happened organically, but in 3 phases.
1. Phase one: Using Music to bring Residents together.
In this phase, musical experiences were used as a forum to encourage social engagement. Weekly music groups were conducted for the residents by a trained music therapist who was working in the recreation department. The music groups provided various interventions such as singing familiar songs, instrument playing, and movement to music and were created to fit the needs of the residents. Music groups included a weekly bell choir which brought together residents from the same floor but different units. Please see the video below to watch an excerpt of the bell choir (.13sec) .
2. PHASE TWO: Music experiences for the residents and staff/family caregivers in individual settings
When groups were not allowed due to COVID infection control policies, music experiences for residents were created in individual settings. Staff and family members were encouraged to engage and participate with the residents when possible. Personal Support Workers ( PSWs) and I collaborated to sing together for residents individually. Please see video for an example of collaborating with a PSW to bring a special musical experience to a resident in their room (.58). Music was also incorporated in family video calls with residents which allowed residents to engage in music with their loved ones even through the distance. One family member shared that the music in the video calls were comforting and important.
“The video calls were a challenge for my Mom as she was not used to them. Whenever there was music as a part of the call, Mom would stay on the call longer and it was a wonderful experience for me at home to watch her sing. ”
3. PHASE 3: Music becoming part of the LTC home environment
In this phase, music organically became part of the LTC environment. Staff musical preferences and different instrumental music was played during resident meal times ( breakfast and lunch) on iPads and Wonderboom speakers. This not only allowed for a more pleasure experience the residents, but also allowed the staff to enjoy some of their favourite music at work. It allowed for staff to bond over some of their favourite songs as well and increased the enjoyment of the workday. Music in the LTC became more community focused and all those involved in the home were welcome to engage in musical activities with residents: housekeepers, nurses, family caregivers and private formal caregivers. Music became part of events in the home such as staff bonding activities and celebrations. This was highlighted when residents and staff collaborated in choosing music to sing for a nurse retirement party ( see video expert at 2.52).
Required supplies needed:
- Handbell set
- Various percussion instruments
- A device to play recorded Music ( iPad and Wonderboom speakers were used)