MUSIC is helping to lift the spirits of patients to brighten up lengthy stays at Southend Hospital.

The hospital has started music therapy sessions for patients on Castle Point orthopaedic ward.

The idea of using music to lift the mood, encourage interaction and relieve the boredom for long-stay patients came from healthcare assistants.

It is also having a huge impact on morale.

Ward manager Julie Edwards said: “I’m so pleased we adopted it, as it has made a big difference to the ward. I have happy staff and happy patients – which makes me a very proud and happy manager!

“From day one we began to notice the difference on our ward. It has been amazing. The health care assistants have changed their whole perception of the patients’ experience.”

The project – where patients listen to music on headphones and are then encouraged to chat about it – evolved from a new framework of values for all healthcare assistants, drawn up by the hospital’s preprofessional workforce team to meet the new national minimum standards.

The framework, piloted on Castle Point, involved all ward staff being encouraged to see everything from a patient’s point of view.

Pre-professional workforce manager Kym Popplewell added: “The hard work and enthusiasm for improving our patients’ experience from Julie and all her healthcare assistants have been major factors in ensuring the pilot’s success.

There was a real ‘we can do this’ attitude.

“The pride the staff now have in their ward and their achievements is heartwarming.”

Staff nurse Karis Cameron, who was the brains behind the set of minimum standards, added: “Substantial improvements have been seen in our cleaning, infection control audits, patient tracker results, complaints rates and compliments make me feel very proud.”