CNMN > Projects > Bringing Everyone Together : Music in Long term care during a Pandemic

Christine Naguib

  • Ouvert (définition : partitions pour une instrumentation non spécifiée)
  • Voix
  • Instruments acoustiques
  • Ainés

over the span of a year and a half

Bringing Everyone Together : Music in Long term care during a Pandemic


This pro­ject brought music to resi­dents of Colum­bia Forest Long Term Care (LTC) during the COVID-19  pan­de­mic, a time of incre­dible unpre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty, iso­la­tion, fear, and change. The pro­ject trans­for­med into using music to bring toge­ther LTC staff, resi­dents and fami­ly mem­bers in a stress­ful time where there was more focus on “dis­tance” than unity.

The Pro­ject Goals were :

  • To create a sense of uni­ty and belonging
  • To unite and bring toge­ther resi­dents and staff in long term care (LTC )homes
  • To empo­wer resi­dents in expres­sing them­selves through musi­cal creations
  • To encou­rage and empo­wer staff to use music throu­ghout their work day
  • To use music as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for staff and resi­dents to engage and relate to each other
  • To use adap­table music expe­riences when nee­ded to fit an ever chan­ging environment

This pro­ject hap­pe­ned orga­ni­cal­ly, but in 3 phases.

1. Phase one : Using Music to bring Resi­dents together. 

In this phase, musi­cal expe­riences were used as a forum to encou­rage social enga­ge­ment. Week­ly music groups were conduc­ted for the resi­dents by a trai­ned music the­ra­pist who was wor­king in the recrea­tion depart­ment. The music groups pro­vi­ded various inter­ven­tions such as sin­ging fami­liar songs, ins­tru­ment playing, and move­ment to music and were crea­ted to fit the needs of the resi­dents. Music groups inclu­ded a week­ly bell choir which brought toge­ther resi­dents from the same floor but dif­ferent units. Please see the video below to watch an excerpt of the bell choir (.13sec) .

2. PHASE TWO : Music expe­riences for the resi­dents and staff/family care­gi­vers in indi­vi­dual settings 

When groups were not allo­wed due to COVID infec­tion control poli­cies, music expe­riences for resi­dents were crea­ted in indi­vi­dual set­tings. Staff and fami­ly mem­bers were encou­ra­ged to engage and par­ti­ci­pate with the resi­dents when pos­sible.  Per­so­nal Sup­port Wor­kers ( PSWs)  and I col­la­bo­ra­ted to sing toge­ther for resi­dents indi­vi­dual­ly. Please see video for an example of col­la­bo­ra­ting with a PSW to bring a spe­cial musi­cal expe­rience to a resident in their room (.58). Music was also incor­po­ra­ted in fami­ly video calls with resi­dents which allo­wed resi­dents to engage in music with their loved ones even through the dis­tance.  One fami­ly mem­ber sha­red that the music in the video calls were com­for­ting and important. 

« The video calls were a chal­lenge for my Mom as she was not used to them. Whe­ne­ver there was music as a part of the call, Mom would stay on the call lon­ger and it was a won­der­ful expe­rience for me at home to watch her sing. »

3. PHASE 3 : Music beco­ming part of the LTC home environment

In this phase, music orga­ni­cal­ly became part of the LTC envi­ron­ment. Staff musi­cal  pre­fe­rences and dif­ferent ins­tru­men­tal music was played during resident meal times ( break­fast and lunch) on iPads and Won­der­boom spea­kers.  This not only allo­wed for a more plea­sure expe­rience the resi­dents, but also allo­wed the staff to enjoy some of their favou­rite music at work. It allo­wed for staff to bond over some of their favou­rite songs as well and increa­sed the enjoy­ment of the work­day. Music in the LTC became more com­mu­ni­ty focu­sed and all those invol­ved in the home were wel­come to engage in musi­cal acti­vi­ties with resi­dents : hou­se­kee­pers, nurses, fami­ly care­gi­vers and pri­vate for­mal care­gi­vers. Music became part of events in the home such as staff bon­ding acti­vi­ties  and  cele­bra­tions. This was high­ligh­ted when resi­dents and staff col­la­bo­ra­ted in choo­sing music to sing for a nurse reti­re­ment par­ty ( see video expert at 2.52).

Requi­red sup­plies needed :

  • Hand­bell set
  • Various per­cus­sion instruments
  • key­board
  • gui­tar
  • A device to play recor­ded Music ( iPad and Won­der­boom spea­kers were used)
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