A Right Old Song & Dance: evaluation

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

A Right Old Song and Dance was an Awards for All funded residency at Dorset County Hospital for a storyteller and musician who worked with patients on Barnes Ward, particularly those with dementia. It was conceived by the Arts in Hospital programme and nursing staff on the ward as a way to enhance the clinical and social wellbeing of patients and staff.

Artists/musicians Sammy Hurden and Tim Laycock delivered 32 one and half hour sessions of music, storytelling or conversation over a period of 3½ months in 2013. The project was evaluated through a mixture of reflective journals by the project team and a survey of staff, with input from volunteers and carers.

Key findings from this evaluation support evidence gathered nationally on the effect of music on dementia patients that

The patient experience of their hospital stay was enhanced, patients were generally more relaxed and increased their mental, social and physical activity during and after sessions.


This activity improved nutritional intake, sleep patterns and encouraged physical exercise.


Staff empathy for patients was enhanced and there was increased knowledge and insight into the patient’s history and personal narratives for both staff and carers, potentially impacting on care outside the hospital.


Overall staff believed that the outcomes of the project were positive and that the programme should be continued – the challenge is to sustain this involvement over longer periods of time.


Gwyneth Morphew; Alex Murdin
Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England