ICU Hear

658. Helen Ashley Taylor (Manchester)

Helen Ashley Taylor is the driving force behind the ‘ICU Hear’ project pioneered in Manchester Royal Infirmary.

During a difficult time in ICU herself, Helen recollected a moment of respite when she briefly heard singing from a TV. With this in mind, and realising that others reported a similar experience, Helen approached Music In Hospitals (where she had previously volunteered for years) and set up ICU Hear, which recruits musicians to play for ICU patients, having received their consent. After a successful pilot Helen has now teamed up with a team of consultants who are researching the positive impact music can have on patients’ physical health and plans to roll out the ICU-Hear project across every intensive care unit in the UK that is interested.

In a personal letter to Helen, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You are harnessing the extraordinary power of music to support patients and their families during their time in intensive care. You should be enormously proud of the ‘ICU Hear’ project you have set up with ‘Music In Hospitals’.”

Helen said: 

“It is an honour to receive this volunteering award and I accept it on behalf of every single person who has given time to this project. It is also recognition for the Intensive Care Unit staff at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Stepping Hill hospitals who have gone above and beyond their duties to enable this project to happen, the staff at the charity Music in Hospitals as well as the charity’s large team of volunteers, the funders who have supported the project and the superb professional musicians who have performed so sensitively and empathetically to critically ill patients and their families – bringing moments of calm and relief at some of the most difficult and distressing times in people’s lives.

“It is the wide level of co-operation on this project that has been truly inspiring. The collaboration of former patient input, NHS nursing staff, the charity Music in Hospitals, volunteers and musicians has proved to be a winning combination enabling the intensive care unit experience to be transformed. A small idea quickly became a much larger vision that has attracted interest from all over the world. Thank you to everyone in this team who has made the vision a reality.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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