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FGH harp player receives funding to help patients

Mary Dunsford

[A] long standing Furness General Hospital (FGH) voluntary harp player has received almost £10,000 of funding to further support patients nearing end of life.

Musician Mary Dunsford, who has performed in top concert venues across the country, including the Royal Albert Hall, continues to be a big hit with the patients at FGH when she visits.

Mary’s project ‘Harp in Healthcare’ initiative provides a window to the outside world through short cultural exchanges both by patients’ bedsides and in communal areas.

Recently Mary received £9,856 in funding through the Arts Council England to explore ways that music can further help and support people nearing the end of their lives.

The funding will allow Mary to study at the Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy Institute in Boston, America and with JoCo Learning and Development, in Nottingham, Mary will then bring these new skills back to FGH.

Lynne Wyre, Director of nursing for hospital services said; “Music can be so powerful, research has shown that the introduction of live music into healthcare can enhance the quality of care, improve communication, empathy and understanding of patients’ needs, reduces stress and the perception of pain, we continue to receive many positive patient and staff responses. Mary helps to provide a relaxing ward environment, while creating special touch for our patients, staff and service users. We are grateful to Mary for sharing her skills and talent within our hospital.”

Mary added; “I feel so privileged to have my work recognised by Arts Council England, and to have this opportunity to develop my music in healthcare work into the area of end of life care, in our rural corner of the North West.”

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