Relaxation music channel launches at Southmead Hospital

A group of people, some in nursing uniform stand together next to a patient bedside television screen

A music channel has launched on patient TVs at Southmead Hospital to support relaxation, reduce anxiety and promote sleep. 

The NBT Relaxation Sounds channel, featuring calming music, is available on every patient television throughout the hospital 24 hours a day, and is believed to be the first of its kind in a UK hospital.

It was the idea of a former volunteer befriender at the hospital’s Elgar Enablement Unit, Will Telford, who realised that music could help calm agitated patients, reduce anxiety and promote sleep.

Will went on to become a healthcare support worker on the same ward and is now undertaking a nursing degree in Liverpool. 

He developed the music channel as part of a research project for his studies and then worked with teams at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) to turn it into a reality.

The project has been realised thanks to a £3,600 grant from the Southmead Hospital League of Friends, who funded the development and rollout of the channel.

Will said: “I am really happy we have been able to make this happen.

“I could see as an HCA the difference that music could make and it is great to know that every patient will have access to relaxing music at their bedside. I hope other hospitals can take this on now we have managed to make it work.

“It is fantastic that we have been able to use technology to enhance the care environment.

“This is no substitute for human interaction or music therapists, but I believe it will help staff caring for agitated patients by creating a more calming environment and distraction.”

Three people stand together beside a patient bedside TV, smiling at the camera

Much of the music is inspired by the countryside of the South West and musicians have donated their music to be used on the channel for free.

Research has shown benefits of music for people with dementia, patients receiving end of life care, those struggling to sleep on hospital wards and those with anxiety and depression.

Will shared his proposal with clinicians at NBT to get their buy-in and then worked with the Quality Improvement and Patient Experience teams to move the project forward before IT became involved to implement it.

Music was then trialled in Elgar to test whether it would have an impact and to test the types of music that worked best.  

Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Mental Health. Learning Disability and Neurodiversity, Gifty Markey, has been involved in supporting the project. She said: “As a mental health nurse I knew how important this music channel would be for people and it is wonderful that we were able to use the skills of different people across the organisation to make this a reality. Thank you to the League of Friends for funding this valuable new resource.”

Peter Frank of Southmead Hospital League of Friends, said: “When we heard about this project we felt it was something different that would make a significant difference to patients. We are delighted to have been able to support it and to come and hear how it works.”

James Osland 

Thomas Hoey 

Andrew Heath 

Francisco Sonur 

Paolo Brusò