Healing through the power of music

December 1, 2016

Sometimes, music can literally be healing. According to a recent Harvard Medical School article, music can be especially helpful in a health care environment. Evidence has found that listening to music can reduce anxiety and stress associated with surgery, quell nausea associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapies, aid in pain relief, and even reduce the need for pain medication.

With this in mind, EvergreenHealth Monroe recently launched its own program, known as Healing Notes, which brings live healing music into the hospital to lift patients’ and families’ spirits during their stay. Through the program, local musicians visit the hospital and perform in the hospital lobby, hallways and approved patient rooms.

The initiative was launched by Commissioner Dr. Charles Strub, who began working on the program earlier this year. He spent the last several months bringing the program into full operation. At the beginning, Healing Notes featured a number of local musicians who performed on a semi-regular basis, including a ukulele-playing chaplain, three chorus groups from nearby middle schools, a classical and standards-playing flute trio, a country and bluegrass group, and Dr. Strub’s a cappella quartet.

“In partnership with talented local artists and musicians, we can demonstrate how music can support the health and well-being of our patients. We are eager to see this program grow and to see the type of impact it can have on our patients, their families and our staff,” Dr. Strub said.

Patients, visitors and staff have already felt the program’s benefit.

“I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact music can have on patients. It really does go a long way towards brightening up their day and making a difference in their stay,” said Vince Reynolds, a registered nurse in EvergreenHealth Monroe’s emergency department. “Beyond patients, the music has helped boost the spirits of staff as well.”

The hospital plans to extend the program by enlisting more musicians and entertainers from Snohomish County Schools and the greater community, and it hopes to provide weekly performances and broadcast them through a closed-circuit channel in patient rooms.

Click here to read more about the Healing Notes program, and click here to read the article from Harvard Medical School on the healing power of music. (Tim Pfarr)


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