f you’ve ever been in the hospital as a patient, you probably know how crummy it can feel being away from home. Not only do many patients feel bored when staying in a hospital room, but it just doesn’t feel very cheerful and cozy. So, it’s not uncommon to feel homesick, stressed, or maybe a bit gloomy during your stay. It seems like time doesn’t move slower than at the hospital.
Fortunately, the Dove music therapy program funded by the Sunshine Coast Hospital Foundation in Birtinya, Queensland, Australia is doing the best they can to make hospice patients more comfortable while staying in their temporary environment. With donations from the community, Sunshine Coast has been providing free live music for up to 10 chronically ill patients at the Caloundra Hospital a week since 2016.
Music Therapist, Tracie Wicks, is a part of the program and takes pride in creating music for and singing to patients.
Wicks doesn’t just play a random song for each patient; she makes sure to customize her performance based on each patients’ preferences.
“When I work with a patient it’s really important to find out what music is meaningful to them,” she said. “I can’t say I was that good at rapping Eminem though.”
Like many of us, Tracie Wicks believes the hospital setting isn’t the coziest place for patients to be.
“Having a space away from the hospital room, which is very clinical and has lots of equipment, to a space that feels homely and comfortable allows people to settle in and enjoy music therapy,” she said.
But it’s not just a source of entertainment or a means of comfort. One of Wicks’s goals through her work is to help patients have a less debilitating experience during the last moments of their lives.
“Anxiety is a big component in that and music helps, and can also reduce patients’ perception of pain.”
Although playing music for palliative care patients seems simple, it has had a big impact on patients so far. Even the patients’ families have benefitted.
“Families want to come together and they don’t want to have medical conversations. They actually want to have joy and to celebrate being together.”
Everyone knows that music is one way to bring people closer!