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Music & Memory introduced to acute care services in NSW

Music & Memory introduced to acute care services in NSW

The innovative US developed Music & Memory program is being introduced into 21 NSW health services in an Australian-first pilot project.

The pilot is an initiative of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) and the Arts Health Institute (AHI), and was a joint winner of the NSW Health in The Arts start-up grant announced at the NSW Health Innovation Symposium in November last year.

Following the awarding of the grant, which funded two sites in the pilot, the NSW Government invested further funding to support an additional 19 sites, bringing the total to 21.

The project was launched in Sydney today by the NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner at a training event held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

“I was blown away after watching the presentation for the Music & Memory program. I’ve seen videos of patients with dementia who were totally withdrawn, become energised, getting up and dancing and singing. These results are fantastic,” said Mrs Skinner.

“I’m thrilled that after the initial grant we provided, we were able to fund 21 locations for this remarkable program.”

Staff from the 10 metropolitan and 11 rural and regional sites participating in the initiative across NSW who attended the event undertook training in how to successfully implement the accredited program in their service.

The Arts Health Institute holds the exclusive license in Australia for Music & Memory. It was introduced to Australian aged care facilities in November 2015, but the partnership with the ACI and local health services is the first time the accredited program will be trialled in public acute care services.

“Music & Memory helps create connections with people. It is a powerful way for family and friends to share music together, to remember stories and experiences. It also has an important benefit for people with complex health needs, living with pain and mental illness,” said Arts Health Institute CEO Dr Maggie Haertsch.

“Introducing this program into public health services across NSW is such a great opportunity for the people who will benefit enormously from accessing this care.”

The training day was timely, as today is also the fifth anniversary of the Arts Health Institute being founded.

“It’s the best birthday present ever,” Dr Haertsch said. “I’d like to see Music & Memory available to every person in aged care and in hospitals in Australia so that the patient experience is enhanced through music of their choice provided in health care environments - and this certainly paves the way for that.”

For more information visit 

  • the Music & Memory page on the Arts Health Institute website, or
  • the Music & Memory page on the Excellence and Innovation in Healthcare Portal.

Media Contacts

Ashley LangtonAgency for Clinical Innovation
Ph: 0418 427 956

Kym Druitt
Arts Health Institute
Ph: 0418 272 018