Professional musician, teacher and music-in-healthcare practitioner Fiona Pritchard is working across Colten Care’s 20 nursing homes including its five dementia-specific care settings.
A key part of her role is to stimulate residents’ creativity and imagination through singing, playing music, drama, poetry, storytelling, dance and active listening.
Fiona said: “I am introducing arts based approaches into everyday care and offering individualised interactions with residents based on an arts activity of interest.
“I will use creative interventions to offer people living with dementia an alternative means to express how they feel and challenge how their diagnosis is perceived.
“I will also enable residents to access the arts activities that are taking place in their local community.”
Two community projects already identified are Reawakening Dance at Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth and Dance for Parkinson’s at the Forest Arts Centre in New Milton, Hampshire.
After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Fiona performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English National Ballet and the Scottish Opera Orchestra.
She has been teaching music at Ringwood School in Hampshire for 25 years and writes and arranges music and songs for the BBC, ITV, the Letterland phonics teaching approach, the pre-school music education company Monkey Music and the music publisher Warwick Music.
Fiona has trained in Neurologic Music Therapy and is currently studying for a master’s degree in Dementia Studies with Arts and Activities at Bradford University.
She has worked with Colten Care since 2014 in roles including customer services and companionship.
Fiona is one of the musicians running the BUDDY orchestra, a community project founded by Bournemouth University for people with dementia and their carers.
Fiona said: “I am keen to work in partnership with the Colten Care home teams to develop and enhance the music and arts practised across the group.
“I hope to increase the sense of wellbeing for our residents and enrich their experience of staying in a care home.”
Tim Wookey, Colten Care’s Director of Companionship, said: “Fiona will work closely with our home managers and clinical, care and companionship teams to meet those residents who will benefit best from her input.
“Research suggests that there is improved mood and attitude if there is music in the home.
“Enabling staff to participate alongside residents will become a shared experience with a real community feel.
“For those living with dementia, Fiona and our Admiral Nurse Kay Gibson will design and implement person-centred interactions.
“Fiona will also set up a regular opportunity for residents, relatives and people in the community to engage in such activities as a music café.”
For more information about Fiona and her role, visit www.coltencare.co.uk/music-and-arts.