1. Training and Support
Musicians working in care homes will need a wide range of skills, including musical skills, workshopping techniques, repertoire and communication skills. They should also have a broad awareness of the issues relating to vulnerable adults and those living with dementia in particular.
Training is available through organisations such as Live Music Now, and via online tutorials, webinars and videos. The Alzheimer’s Society runs courses in dementia awareness with whom you can fairly quickly gain a status as a ‘Dementia Friend’. You might also consider this accredited free online training in Dementia and the Arts, created by UCL and Created Out of Mind.
It’s also important to bear in mind that, whilst music for older people can be hugely rewarding, it can also be emotionally challenging. Musicians delivering this work will need support. They should work in pairs at least, and have experienced staff or mentors to speak to about it afterwards.
People often associate safeguarding requirements with children, but they can also apply to vulnerable adults. Musicians working in care homes may require a DBS check, depending on the circumstances of what they will be doing.
More detailed guidance can be found at Sound Sense, Live Music Now, Help Musicians UK or other support organisations for musicians.
Musicians should never be responsible for the care and safety of older people beyond providing the music sessions, and care home staff should be on hand at all times.
Musicians working in care homes may also require suitable Public Liability Insurance. If they are working for an organisation, this may already be provided. It is also included in the memberbership of several professional membership associations, such as the Musicians’ Union.
More detailed guidance will be available here shortly.