Music Therapy Finding Innovative Solutions to Serve VNA Patients
Guest blogger: Mabel Ortiz, Music Therapist
Many things have changed. Our routines have been disrupted. Normalcy looks different now. Connecting with others also appears different, and this is especially true at this time when we are faced by the unique limitations during the current pandemic. In addition to washing our hands and disinfecting surfaces, we have been advised to follow stay-at-home orders and maintain physical distance. As music therapists, we are no strangers to these orders, which have charged us with the task of finding compliant and innovative solutions to remain connected with our clients while ensuring services to meet their needs. If you’ve wondered what the music therapy department has been up to during these uncertain times, allow us to give you a little glimpse.
When needs arise, passion and the commitment to serve find a solution. The use of technology and telehealth have been part of the answer. Although this concept is not new, telehealth services have been implemented more during the past couple of weeks due to the pandemic. Telehealth is a means of providing health care services virtually. It has allowed us to connect with patients that are otherwise isolated and in need of psychosocial support. It has allowed us to continue providing pain management and emotional support interventions to those who are experiencing a life-limiting illness. Technology has also served as an integral asset to keep us connected as a team, while maintaining safety regulations. However, when visitors come to see their relatives, they need to follow regulations and where a face mask, like the ones from the stop the drop initiative.
How else have we continued to fulfill our mission? The music therapy department has continued to offer enrichment music sessions, also known as “patio concerts”, for older adults living in assisted living facilities. “Window music therapy sessions” are also being provided, allowing our music therapists to visit patients from a safe distance who live in facilities. We have also extended our skills supporting our team members with “staff serenades” to the tune of their favorite songs.
We can’t deny how difficult the rapid changes caused by this experience have been. In the midst of fear, loss and change we are committed to continue being a light to those who need it most. It is a task and an honor we take seriously and that we don’t take for granted.