Few
people are as passionate about music as Sarah Condran, who works as a music
therapist at Arborstone Enhanced Care in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sarah
is a very important part of resident life at Arborstone. Through the weekly programming
she offers to young adults and seniors alike, she has seen first hand just how calming
music can be. She has also seen how concrete changes in infrastructure can have
a positive effect on resident behaviour. 

To
investigate the impact of music and physical space, Sarah received $35,000 in
funding from the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), an
organization that supports grassroots initiatives to help improve resident health
and quality of life. Sarah’s project, called A Sound Approach, explored the
impact of sound on residents at Arborstone Enhanced Care.

“Noise
is often overlooked in healthcare because it has become such a common factor in
our environment. Noise can have a negative impact on residents in long term
care homes, especially those living with dementia.”

But
what, exactly, is A Sound Approach?

Sarah
worked closely with CABHI to identify and implement changes to improve the
sound environment at Arborstone. They renovated common areas, adjusted the
layout of dining areas, installed acoustic panels and minimized equipment noise.
They also changed practices to reduce noise during dining room service, improve
the sound environment during recreation and leisure activities and develop
preventative maintenance plans. Educating team members about the impact of
sound was a key element of these changes. A visual noise indicator called a “SoundEar”
was installed to increase awareness, measure noise and support the overall project
goal of reducing the impact of noise.

The
SoundEar, mounted on the wall of common spaces, provides a visual
representation of noise levels for everyone to see, which makes it easier to
keep track of sound levels. The SoundEar even generates noise level reports that
pinpoint times and locations where noise has the biggest impact on residents, teams
and visitors.

 “When we approach sound, and likewise music,
with care and intent, we can create a purposeful environment that benefits the
residents we serve, while reducing the potential risk that noise can create.”

Thank
you very much, Sarah, for sharing knowledge with teams at Arborstone and all of
us about the importance of noise and the impact it can have on residents’
day-to-day quality of life. You are certainly supporting Shannex in Leading the
Way to Better Living.