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Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust

Under the Art at the Heart umbrella, Soundbite brings a varied programme of live music and creative activities to patients, staff and visitors at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Somerset. The aim of the Soundbite programme is to improve wellbeing and overall patient experience for older patients, in particular those with dementia.


Love and Marriage         Frankie

Photos: RUH Bath 

In February 2013 Soundbite music coordinator, Rosie Mead led a 5 week pilot study as part of her Master’s Degree in Music Psychology. The specific objectives were to:

  1. Explore the effects of musical interventions on agitated behaviours displayed by patients with dementia.
  2. Examine the effects of live music on mood and anxiety of patients with dementia.
  3. Investigate the effects that live music can have on sleep patterns of patients with dementia.
  4. Evaluate the agitation, anxiety and mood scales as an objective measure with a view to using them in a larger RCT.

Evidence was gathered through a mixed method approach:

  • Cohen Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) was completed by nursing staff every 48 hours to monitor the participants’ levels of agitation.
  • Staff completed a numeric rating scale of their opinion of the participants’ overall wellbeing after each session.
  • Participants completed a numeric rating scale assessing their level of anxiety and mood before and after each session.
  • Observations were conducted by the researcher
  • Semi structured interviews examining the participants’ perception of the choice of repertoire, ability to improve their mood and patient experience, and organisational factors such as the frequency of the performances.


  • Participants’ mood was significantly improved (p=0.005)
  • Anxiety was reduced by 29% after the music
  • On average agitation levels were lower for participants that listened to the music

In 2013, Soundbite Musician in Residence, Frankie Simpkins, delivered a 12 week pilot creative reminiscence project – ‘Reflections’ – assisted by Elodie Guest (Creative Arts Therapies student, City of Bristol College) generously funded by the Quartet Community Foundation.

The project was based around the book ‘a Little Aloud,’ which consists of story extracts and poetry groups in themes. This formed the basis for the workshops, providing self-contained weekly reminiscence workshops for older patients, particularly those with dementia or cognitive impairments.

The group sessions were based on a different theme each week; and within each session the patients had the opportunity to work with a variety of creative stimulus including poetry, music, photos, and reminiscence objects.

The creative responses and images from the project have been collated into a reminiscence book, which will be placed around the hospitals for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy. It is hoped that the book will be used as a tool within the RUH and other hospitals alongside reminiscence activities.





Contact: Hetty Dupays
Arts Programme Manager
Art at the Heart of the RUH 


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