Staff on the Trauma Unit at the Great Western Hospital are holding weekly sessions called Movement to Music to get patients on their feet for half an hour of exercise to old radio hits.
Physiotherapists created the treatment session in June 2017, inspired by the success of the ward’s weekly tea parties, to get patients to socialise and enjoy their physiotherapy during their stay.
Patients undertake chair exercises, standing practices, and group interactions, depending on their personal abilities and progress.
Rebecca Jackson, a physiotherapist who launched the scheme, said: “It started as a way to combine music and exercise with social interaction; it is a real ice-breaking activity which encourages patients to talk to one another.
“New research on elderly and Parkinson’s patients shows that dance is a great form of exercise and is much more engaging than normal physiotherapy sessions.
“It’s great to get patients engaged in their therapy and enjoying themselves at the same time.”
The group dance sessions help to improve patients’ balance, muscle strength, range of movement, coordination, exercise tolerance, and mood.
It creates a spirit of camaraderie on the ward as once a week beds are pushed aside to dance to old favourites like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and The Temptations.
The exercises are styled for different dances, such as the waltz or jive, or are simply in time with old radio hits.
Kiran Mehmi, Physiotherapist, said: “We are mindful of patients with weight-baring restrictions and try to adapt the exercises so that everyone can take part.
“It’s also more efficient for us as it means we can see lots of patients at once.
“It has really helped to boost morale, you see patients start to form friendships and after the sessions you can hear them say ‘I’ll see you at the tea party on Thursday’.”
Further information about the Trauma Unit’s weekly tea parties can be found on the Trust’s Facebook page, as well as at www.gwh.nhs.uk.