Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s Older Adult’s Community Mental Health team in West Fife have been recognised for their work to harness the power of music to help people living with dementia.

The team were named as the first community mental health team in Scotland to be officially Playlist for Life certified during national Dementia Awareness week.

Playlist for Life is a music and dementia charity which was founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother Mamie who had dementia.

The charity’s simple concept involves health and social care staff working alongside people living with dementia, their friends and family, to select songs from their lives which hold meaning and memories to create a personal playlist.

And it’s been shown to help those with dementia in a range of ways, often bringing happiness and hope at difficult times through the person’s journey, as well as a range of therapeutic benefits, including managing stress and distress.

Partnership staff in the West Fife Older Adult’s Community Mental Health Team completed the training and have been working with older adults to create playlists.

After completing the certification process they were awarded with a plaque from the charity during Dementia Awareness week.

The team has found a reduction in the need for certain medications in some adults who have made a playlist, alongside other benefits.

In fact in the group of 10 adults who participated, 80% have seen a reduction in certain types of medication since they developed a playlist.

Nicola Hurst, Community Mental Health Nurse from the Partnership said: “We are delighted to receive the certification which really is recognition of the tremendous hard work and dedication of all of the staff involved.

“It’s been brilliant to see first hand how the playlists can help, the results have been remarkable for our older people who have taken part.

“One of my favourite examples is one of our male patients who lives at home who is transported back to the enjoyment of past holidays from just one of the songs – Sweet Caroline - he picked.

“Listening to his playlist reduces his agitation and gives him moments of happiness in his day.

“I’ve heard others say they feel as if their loved ones are transported back to happy times again for the three minutes of a song, perhaps the first dance at their wedding or a favourite family events.

“It’s amazing to have been able to help facilitate their moments of joy in people’s lives and enhance their wellbeing.”

The work by the West Fife team continues a successful ongoing partnership with the charity.

NHS Fife has also adopted the playlist concept in 12 wards across Fife but the West Fife Team are the first community based team to adopt the initiative.

Initial funding was received from the Friends of Queen Margaret Hospital nearly a decade ago. Family members across Fife have also made personal donations over the years to help support the work as have community organisations including local Rotary Clubs.

NHS Fife also provided funding for training and recently, thanks to additional funding from the Fife Health Charity, further equipment has been purchased including headphones and mp3 devices for those taking part.

Playlist for Life has also donated equipment to NHS Fife too.

The work with dementia patients in Fife, including the NHS Fife Playlist for Life case study was included in the delivery plan of the Scottish Government Dementia Strategy which was launched last year.

Work will now continue in the Partnership with the playlists rolled out to other community mental health teams in other areas of Fife.

In-patient and community hospice teams within the Partnership will also be trained too.

Nicky Connor, Director of the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership added: “I’d just like to say how proud we are of our Older Adults Community Mental Health team for this achievement and finding new ways to help support people living with dementia, their family and friends. It really is fantastic to be able to say we have the first community mental health team in Scotland to be accredited.

“The playlist is so personal and powerful and can be taken with the person throughout their onward journey to remind them of their joyful moments at times of change or stress.

“And it’s helped our team get to know more about the lives of those they are helping to care for which I know means a lot to all of them.

“We would also like to thank Helen Skinner, Dementia Nurse Consultant at NHS Fife for her ongoing work in training and supporting staff to implement the personalised playlists and the Fife Health Charity for their generous donation which has meant we can help older adults with equipment where needed too.”

Rebecca Kennedy from Playlist for Life added: “Playlist for Life are thrilled that Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s Community Mental Health Team are the latest team to be Playlist for Life Certified. 

“They are the first community mental health team to go through our certified process and they have set the bar high. We continue to be impressed by NHS Fife and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s commitment to using playlists to improve patient and community wellbeing and we are delighted to recognise their hard work.”

More News

A Royally Good Party

A Royally Good Party

12 July 2024
A Royally Good Party
Open access offered for vaccination against range of conditions

Open access offered for vaccination against range of conditions

04 July 2024
Open access offered for vaccination against range of conditions
The 191 club

The 191 club

26 June 2024
The 191 club