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Heather Perkins is our new Playlist for Life Trainer

Heather Perkins, our Dementia Support Advisor, recently undertook training at the Playlist for Life headquarters in Glasgow. After spending two days there, we are proud to announce that she has been appointed as Playlist for Life Trainer for Avery Healthcare.

Playlist for Life is a charity that was founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson. Sally and her siblings cared for their mum at home after she was diagnosed with dementia. They discovered that despite her increasing cognitive impairment, they could still connect with her through the songs and music that had been part of her life. After her mother passed away, Sally worked in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University to establish Playlist for Life in order to help other people living with dementia to benefit from the power of music.

As part of Avery’s ReConnect approach to dementia care, we already recognised the benefit of music as a way of reducing ill-being and improving a sense of well-being. Music has the benefit of being virtually free of side-effects, unlike many prescription drugs that have been traditionally used to treat distress in people with dementia.

With an increasing evidence base that recognises the benefit of music for people living with dementia, in 2018, Avery Healthcare piloted Playlist for Life in five of our homes. Led by Jo Crossland (Head of Dementia Care), Heather supported and guided the care teams at Acorn Lodge, Avalon Court, Birchwood Grange, Cliftonville and Dukes Court to introduce personalised playlists with a small number of residents with dementia, making a positive difference to each resident’s quality of life. The pilot project concluded with a celebration event where staff from these five homes came together to share their work in supporting their residents and to recognised as certified Playlist for Life homes.

It was very clear that many more of our residents would benefit from being supported with music this way, so Heather was sponsored by Avery Healthcare to travel to Glasgow to attend training. We are very proud that Heather is now one of the few individuals in the UK to be a certified Playlist for Life Trainer working within an external organisation to improve the experience of care for residents with dementia.

Being a certified Playlist for Life Trainer enables Heather to train new staff members and volunteers as they come on board, promote the use of playlists to other Avery Healthcare homes and keep the company up-to-date with the latest research and practical developments in the use of personal music for people with dementia.

In August, Heather gave her first Playlist for Life training session at Acer Court Care Home in Nottingham – the staff found it to be a brilliant day and it certainly created a buzz in the home!

 

Going forwards this allows Avery to introduce Playlist for Life to more of our homes and support more residents too. Well done Heather! We’re excited to see more homes getting involved with this fantastic project under your careful instruction.

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