The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance’s Community Engagement programme with the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH)
The NRH provides a comprehensive range of specialist rehabilitation services to patients from throughout Ireland who, as a result of an accident, illness or injury have acquired a physical or cognitive disability and require specialist rehabilitation. The music therapy service at NRH provides specialist music therapy assessment and treatment to patients in the Brain Injury and the Prolonged Disorder of Consciousness Programmes and to children and adolescents within the Paediatric programme. There are two music therapists working within the service; Rebecca O’Connor, Senior Music Therapist and Dee Grey, Music Therapy Researcher.
The Irish World Academy at UL established a formal research relationship with NRH in 2017. This year two MA students spent twenty weeks on work placement, learning the craft of music therapy and helping to run the NRH therapeutic choir. Students have been working at NRH for the last ten years.
A joint PhD is now underway, supervised by Dr Hilary Moss and clinically supervised by Ms Rebecca O’Connor. Shane Cassidy is in his 2nd year of this PhD at UL, investigating the impact of Neurologic Music Therapy sensorimotor techniques on the physical rehabilitation, specifically the gait or walking parameters for adult and paediatric patients who have had an acquired brain injury. The study also measures the impact of this music therapy intervention on the participants’ mood. The clinical aspect of this work is being undertaken at NRH and academic work at UL.
The NRH music therapy service is a flagship service in Ireland. The music therapist is a recognised allied health professional who plays an integral role in the multi-disciplinary team. The senior music therapist at the facility teaches regularly on the MA programme and faculty from UL meet regularly with Music Therapists at NRH for peer mentoring.
The Irish World Academy MA programme also developed an ongoing relationship with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII), who support people who are living with ABI in the Limerick region and those who do not qualify for treatment at NRH but still require support and treatment in regional centres around the country. For example, in 2017 an MA student completed a work placement at the Co Offaly ABII centre and as a result ABII are actively seeking to employ a music therapist in their services.