Music Therapy at Absolute Hospice
The healthcare industry has long known the positive effects that music has on the emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual well-being of individuals. “Hospice is about providing comfort and dignity for patients at the end,” said Pat Galioto, director of hospice. “I know that our music program will lend to a strong quality of life.”
Meet, Music Therapist, Lauren Welich-Holtman, who joined our team late last year. Although Lauren mostly plays the guitar during sessions, she can also play the harp, saxophone, and piano. During sessions, Lauren visually assesses the patient and can determine if a patient is enjoying the music. “I have been trained to look for responses,” said Lauren. “Maybe their face lights up, their eye contact is steady, or they appear to be calmer.”
Lauren approaches each patient individually, taking cues from their personal story and life to determine what song she’ll play. Among the popular tunes are, How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace, Sentimental Journey by Doris Day, I Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis, Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra – and popular tunes between the times of the 1940s and the 60s’.
Therapy through Music
Music fuels all of us in so many ways. It has the ability to transport us to new and familiar places. “We often take music for granted,” said Lauren. Music is so deeply ingrained in our lives, but a person at the end doesn’t always have the luxury of turning on their favorite tune. “Hospice is when a person needs music the most – it helps decrease physical and spiritual pain.”
The benefits of music therapy for hospice patients are numerous, in addition to the above, patients can experience decreased anxiety, agitation, and restlessness. Exposed patient families also benefit from increased support for grief-related issues.