Musical interventions when used with patients and residents have been shown to create an increase in well-being, both in the short and long-term, better sleeping and eating, fewer behavioural problems, and, perhaps most importantly, better communication. This increased engagement is an extremely valuable tool when working with people with dementia, for example. For care staff, learning how to effectively use music in their care practice can create easier contact with patients and residents and an improved working environment. It can be a fantastic aid in facilitating daily care tasks, such as eating, showering, sleeping, and taking of medicines. Alongside this, feeling empowered to use music in care has a boost for care workers too: it can reduce stress and increase work satisfaction, as well as increasing confidence through using personal musical talent and leadership. However, these skills are not yet included in the VET care curricula.
Despite the scientific research and various projects integrating music in care, there has been little attention paid to the vocational level.
However, the impact on care that could be achieved by widespread uptake of these new methods at a vocational level is far greater. That’s why our project actively focuses on the ways in which VET students and teachers can take the lates musical care techniques and apply them in a highly practical way in their work. Our project also highlights the essential role of the VET sector more broadly in the uptake and widespread adoption of innovative practices.
Tailored to the labour market needs
With an increasing demand for care in Europe there is also increasing demand for well-trained care professionals, particularly at the vocational level. Vocationally trained care staff are also expected to take on a broader role in their work, combining both the health and social care aspects of patient / resident care. By creating a new generation of VET care students who have a broad skillset of musical activities and interventions which they can use in their work, we hope to give students a boost in the job prospects by bringing innovative practices and with them to future employers. VET teachers who will be involved in this project will also increase their personal and professional competencies. Care organisations, the future employers of our students, are also at the heart of our project offering input, hosting student study visits, and building closer ties with VET schools.
Towards more inclusive care
VET care students must learn a truly inclusive way of working in order to apply the skills and strategies they’ll learn in the course of the project with diverse and vulnerable groups. Students will learn how to work with musical interventions to communicate with people living with dementia, people with disabilities and various other vulnerable groups who they are likely to encounter in their work as a career. This will equip them with more tools and techniques to create a care environment which actively includes everyone.