Children and Young People

Prolonged hospital stays can result in stress, boredom and loneliness for patients of all ages. Our participation programme provides meaningful cultural opportunities, which offer distraction, entertainment and social interaction.

The children's wards at West Middlesex University Hospital provide care for children from 10 days to 16 years old. Staff at the hospital provide outstanding care, but younger patients are often bored, restless and afraid when admitted to hospital. There is growing evidence that engagement with the arts can aid physical, cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional development. Participating in creative activities can also help children to communicate better and display more positive behaviour, breaking hospital routines, distracting the mind from pain and giving children something to discuss with their families.

CW+ provides participatory activities, co-designed with clinical staff, the therapy team and most importantly patients and their families, to help engage and support their recovery. We work with The Wallace Collection to provide interactive making sessions, based on objects from their collection. Violinist Adrian Garratt and harpist Mark Levin perform for patients of all ages, with Mark often encouraging people to have a go at playing his harp themselves. 

South Asian dance company Akademi get young patients moving with performances on the wards, while The Rhythm Studio Foundation bring toe-tapping percussion workshops in which children and their families are invited to make music using drums, bells and other instruments, as well as take part in singing, dancing and cheerleading. Popular with patients of all ages, TheraPaws and Pets as Therapy dogs are regular visitors to our wards, providing companionship, interaction and promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.

Older People

There is a growing recognition of the need to improve care for older people, especially those living with dementia. For these patients, the acute care environment can be disorientating and distressing, potentially causing a sprial of negative outcomes for health and wellbeing.

Improving care for older inpatients is one of three strategic priorities for the Trust and in 2015, CW+ launched our Care of Older People Programme (COOP), which is designed to maintain and improve wellbeing, social engagement, cognition, physical and occupational function, quality of life, anxiety and loneliness. COOP is now fully integrated into the delivery of care for patients and is enthusiastically supported by clinical staff across the Trust. One-hundred percent of clinical staff reported that their patients experienced benefits to social engagement, cognitive function and physical function after participating in our workshops.

Working in partnership with Hammersmith Community Gardening Association (HCGA), we deliver weekly therapeutic gardening workshops for older people in the hospital. These workshops are designed to use the natural environment to help with physical, social, emotional and psychological needs of patients.

We offer daily participatory activities for patients in both visual and performing arts which help maintain and stimulate cognitive function as well as encouraging creativity and imagination. In these workshops, patients are able to express themselves through a variety of media including painting, movement, music and gardening. Our regular performers include vintage-inspired swing dancers Twin Swing and dancer Cai Tomos, who specialises in the psychological and psychosocial aspects of dance and movement. 

Music and Sound

As part of our Care of Older People Programme and in partnership with the Concordia Foundation, our pianist-in-residence Maria Marchant plays patients' favourite songs on the piano: a trip down memory lane. Requests range from Bach to the Beatles. Research shows music for elderly patients is an excellent way to improve visual awareness, focus attention, improve auditory and verbal memory and improve mood.

Andrew Hall, musican and Music and Sound Research Consultant at CW+, runs regular bedside listening sessions and percussion workshops, and collaborates with the Royal Academy of Music on a weekly music group, where postgraduate students come along to join in and gain experience of working with patients. Andrew has also created bespoke music playlists which we have installed throughout the hospital to create a calmer environment for staff, patients and visitors. Andrew designed Pulse Music, a system that automatically adapts the tempo of a piece of music in response to a listener's heart rate, and created OPRA (Older People's Rhythm App), which brings musical creativity to a patient's bedside. Through simple and intuitive touchscreen rhythm excercises, the app delivers the same creative satisfaction and cognitive benefits as group music making, and also aids rehabilitation, for example, in stroke patients. 

Lunchtime Performances

Every Thursday between 1pm-1:45pm at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, we host a free, public performance to entertain patients, visitors and staff. Performances range from South Asian dance, classical music, rock'n'roll bands, opera and much more. Following the public performance, we take the performers to different wards so that patients and staff unable to leave the ward can enjoy some live music or dance. Find out what's on here.

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