Bringing Comfort and Healing through Music
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
Music is an integral and beloved part of life. From a soothing lullaby to a cheering sing-along, from a love song to a hymn of faith, music has the power to deepen a mood or to change it, to evoke memories and foster connection with family and friends.
Wilshire Hospice offers in-home visits by full time staff musicians to any hospice patient or family who desires it. As part of the Spiritual Care Team, the Hospice Musicians are full members of the Interdisciplinary Team, working with each patient, caregiver, and fellow hospice team members to provide the most appropriate and beneficial music possible.
How does music make an impact on a loved one’s health?
Music has been proven to calm agitation, to improve the efficacy of medication, and to comfort and ease the mind and heart as well as the body. Music played with care and skill can be “medicine for the spirit” for both patients and caregiver, soothing suffering that is unreachable by words or medication alone and easing fear, anxiety, anger and depression. We have repeatedly observed music’s capacity to ease physical symptoms: to quiet labored breathing, restlessness, or insomnia; to calm agitation and soothe even severe physical pain.
Music also fosters comfort and a profound sense of connection and camaraderie between patients and their families. We watch as “non-verbal” patients suffering from dementia smile and sing along to songs that hold special memories. In clinical or sterile environments, we see music’s capacity to soften the atmosphere. For families of an actively dying patient, music can help nurture a last – and lasting – image of their loved one that includes, at its heart, beauty, a deep and abiding sense of reverence, intimacy and peace.
About Wilshire’s Music Program
For more than ten years, the Hospice Musicians of Wilshire’s supportive music program has provided a wide range of music for the emotional and spiritual support of our hospice patients and their families. Founded and overseen by a nationally certified therapeutic musician, Wilshire’s music program has received commendation from the Community Health Accreditation Program, and was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Hind Foundation as well as a substantial “Healing Arts” grant from the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation. Our staff of made up of full- and part-time musicians who are integral members of the hospice team and have been featured presenters at numerous national and state conferences for hospice and palliative care. Wilshire’s music program continues to provide information, inspiration and a model to other supportive music programs in the United States.
What kind of music do we play?
The type of music depends on the situation, circumstance and need. It is chosen based on patient/caregiver desires, diagnosis, prognosis and psycho-social factors, and can be adjusted on a moment-to-moment basis to address the changing needs of hospice patients and caregivers, offering emotional and spiritual support.
Our music is played wherever the patient is – whether that’s a private home, care facility or hospital. We don’t view it as a performance, but rather as a service; the needs of the patient and family are the focus.
Our musicians are specifically trained to provide end-of-life music, which is connected to and informed by a long tradition of music provided for emotional and spiritual comfort and support at the end of life. They work closely with the other members of our interdisciplinary hospice team to provide the best care for patients possible.
Give us a call (805) 782-8608