Home > Special Interest Groups > Arts & Dementia Care in Acute Hospitals > Projects > Yeovil District Hospital NHS FT

Yeovil District Hospital NHS FT

The aim of the Live Arts project was to bring a varied programme of high quality live music to patients, staff and visitors at YDH.

A main aspect of the project was to improve the patient experience for older patients, particularly those with dementia; therefore the repertoire mainly consisted of familiar popular music. Music in Hospitals provided live music performances with professional musicians who have experience of working in healthcare settings.


YDH musicians

Musicians at Yeovil District Hospital
Photo: Rosanna Mead


The pilot project began in January 2013 and ended in December 2013. There were 150 live music performances with 30 musicians. The music reached around 2,000 patients, visitors and staff.


  • Most patients have engaged with the music and have responded by smiling and tapping their feet. The music has improved mood and overall wellbeing.
  • Many staff would ask the patients if they were enjoying the music, and this would spark a conversation. Some were even spotted dancing or singing along with the music! Music may help staff to care more easily for patients who display agitated behaviour as the music can help to create a more positive, relaxed environment.
  • A partnership with Yeovil College’s music department has provided students with the opportunity to perform. This has led to a plan for 6 week placements starting in January 2014.
  • Staff have commented that the music performances have often reached out to a patient with dementia, when nothing else can. For example one patient was unable to communicate with staff and appeared uninterested in her surroundings. With the music her eyes lit up and she smiled, something which the staff had not seen for her entire stay. 
  • Patients with dementia were often heard singing along to familiar songs, and talking about the memories associated with the music. This enabled the staff to understand more about the patient and their background.


Contact: Caroline Barnes
Art Co ordinator
Live Arts


Yeovil District Hospital logo 



Arts & Health South West is a FREE MEMBERSHIP ORGANISATION for everyone with an interest in arts and health. Members can network with each other and receive regular e-bulletins with the latest news, events and opportunities as well as be included in an on-line Directory. Help us spread the word!

Join now