2016 Volume 11 Pages 18-30
The arts are becoming an increasingly important feature of care and their value in promoting increased levels of wellbeing is continually being experienced but not yet well understood. Similarly, the arts, and especially music appear to be able to bring increased levels of wellbeing to clients, family members and nursing staff, when used as an integral part of hospice, or end of life care. This article adopts an expanded definition of the word 'asylum' in order to assess the extent to which a series of musical concerts can contribute to the well being of all those involved in end of life care contexts. The research involved carrying out observations and interviews with clients, care workers and family members who experienced a musical event. Interviews were carried out with individual participants before and after a one hour concert taking place within an open social space either within a hospice or a care facility. All concerts were given by one or two musicians with significant levels of experience of performing in such concerts. Observations of responses were also carried out during each of the concerts and notes were recorded accordingly. Ethical permission for the work was provided by the lead university. Results suggest that the concert experience provided significant levels of emotional support, was an ideal medium for promoting new and positive memories, and provided brief periods of respite for all those involved.