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Nurses support orchestra that helps rehabilitation after stroke

Patients in Hull are playing music to aid their recovery

Nurses have helped people recovering from a stroke to form their own orchestra to aid rehabilitation.

Carol Hargreaves (right) with stroke survivor Maureen Frankish (centre), bassoonist Fraser Gordon (left) and Clinical Psychologist Michelle Wilson (back). Picture credit: Jim Varney

The individuals, based in Hull, joined together in a music ensemble called the Strokestra, which includes a 90-year-old bass guitarist.

The initiative is supported by the multidisciplinary Hull Integrated Community Stroke Service (HICSS), part of Humber NHS Foundation Trust.

HICSS clinical lead nurse Carol Hargreaves coordinates workshop sessions in which stroke survivors, who range in age from their mid-40s to their 90s, play instruments including trombones, horns, guitars, tambourines and maracas. Ms Hargreaves provides care, along with other nurses, if the patients require it.

Under the guidance of a creative director, the patients write their own songs and, on occasion, get to play with and even conduct members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ms Hargreaves said the project helps to improve patients’ mobility, speech, communication and confidence.

She added: ‘We have had fantastic comments from patients who have taken part in the workshops; some have said it has changed their lives.

‘Some have bought their own musical instruments and vow to carry on making music.

‘It has been fantastic for those who were low in mood.’

The ensemble was piloted last year and the members are rehearsing to take part in BBC Music Day on June 3, when they will perform one of their songs in a Hull shopping centre.

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