Ashgate Hospicecare teams up with the Melodic Caring Project and Chesterfield College to stream live personalised concerts to patient’s bedside

Friday the 15th December was a momentous day which saw Ashgate Hospicecare stream the first ever live concert, with dedications for adult patients in the UK (and as we understand it, the world).

The dedicated live stream was a partnership project with Melodic Caring, based in the US and Chesterfield College who are a local supporter of the hospice.

The Overtones were performing a Christmas concert at Sheffield City Hall and had generously agreed to have it filmed and live-streamed directly to patient rooms.  The artists also gave personal ‘shout outs’ to two of our patients, Alan and Alex, at Ashgate Hospicecare.

The Melodic Caring Project, the organisation that made all this possible, is a not-for-profit organisation which bridges the gap between music, technology and patients battling serious illness by streaming live personalised concerts to patient bedsides. The Melodic Caring Project partnered with Chesterfield College whose team of Digital Media students were responsible for filming and streaming the event.  James Marples, the Press and communications Officer at Sheffield City Hall, assisted the enthusiastic students and ensured that the show was filmed, edited, narrated and streamed live to our patients.

It is widely known and accepted that music can help alleviate pain, reduce anxiety and aid in the overall wellness of a patient. This was clearly evident in our patients on Friday night. Alex loved going to music gigs with his girlfriend but since the progression of his illness six months ago he has been unable to attend them. Fridays live streaming event into his room at the hospice allowed Alex and his girlfriend to share once more in this passion. They found themselves singing along to the tunes and relaxing in a way they hadn’t previously thought possible.  During the interval Alex said “it’s as good as being at the event without being self-conscious of my condition” and with tears in her eyes Lynn, his partner, stated that “it’s great to see Alex smile and be happy, it has lifted him. I loved hearing him sing along to the tunes”.

Alan also received a ‘shout out’ during the concert and was able to share his experience with his wife and sister in law. They sat drinking Guinness, eating crisps and rocking along with the rest of the audience. Wendy, his wife, stated that it brought “normality to their lives”. They had forgotten how important it was for them to see concerts and how good they make you feel. Due to Alan’s illness, they haven’t been able to go out recently; it was just too difficult. Alan looked forward to the event all day and his Sister-in-law commented that “this is the best he has looked in ages”. Through a beaming smile Alan commented that the Melodic Caring Project “is a fantastic idea that needs to become a regular feature for adult patients. It made us laugh about normal things. I think it is brilliant”.

We knew that this live concert would make a difference to Alex and Alan, but we were not prepared for the scale of the impact. It touched everyone on such a personal level and the nurses on duty noted a reduction in medication requirement leading up to and during the concert. We have all been enthused by this event and are going to continue to work with the Melodic Caring Project and Chesterfield College to provide this wonderful moment of ‘normality’ for our patients during, what is generally, the most challenging of times.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Helen Harland, Head of Learning and Professional Development, Ashgate Hospicecare, helen.harland@ashgatehospicecare.org.uk

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