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Singing Goodbye with Hospice Music Therapy

Singing Goodbye with Hospice Music Therapy

As a music therapist for JourneyCare, I was making a music therapy visit when a nurse from our hospice team saw me and asked me to play for another patient who was very near end of life.

Susan was still fairly young, a 66 year old woman who had suffered from multiple sclerosis. When I entered the room, she was lying in bed, had slightly labored breathing, and did not respond when I greeted her or said her name. She had family surrounding her, two sisters and a brother-in-law, who all very kindly greeted me.

Honoring Veterans this Independence Day

Honoring Veterans this Independence Day

Honoring those who protect our freedom and independence is what inspired me to become a JourneyCare Veteran Volunteer and serve as a Lake County Honor Flight Guardian. I feel that it’s my civic responsibility to give back to those who have sacrificed for this country.

I began serving as a Veteran Volunteer while working as a hospice nurse at JourneyCare and continued after I left the organization. I am committed to continuing the service of Veterans as I was to the patients and their families at JourneyCare. My call of duty was instilled in me during my time in the Army Reserve, where I was able to participate in local community events and learned the importance of staying informed of issues that affect our local community.

Celebrating our Certified Nursing Assistants

Celebrating our Certified Nursing Assistants

This year, the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants celebrateed its 42nd National Nursing Assistants Week in June – and JourneyCare honored the invaluable contributions made every day by our outstanding team of Certified Nursing Assistants!

Our spectacular team of CNAs create a community of caring for our patients, their families and fellow JourneyCare team members every single day!

Music, a universal language in life and death

Music, a universal language in life and death

Drawing on their musical and clinical palliative care training, music-thanatologists use harp and voice to address physical, emotional and spiritual suffering at the end of life. Using music prescriptively, they vary the tempo and tone of music to respond to changes occurring in a patient's body, like a slowing of pulse and breathing, in the final hours of life. During their visits — music vigils — they alternate sound and silence to help patients and loved ones relax and rest.

Music connects us universally. Some will say that it is music that makes us human.

Anthropologist John Blacking in his 1973 book, “How Musical is Man?” bemoans that Western culture music has become the domain of the so-called “experts.” However, when examining the cultures he had studied, music was simply a part of a person’s everyday life.

Music is part of everyone.

All living humans have the tempo of their heart rate and the depth of their respiration rate. But as we die, these mostly lyrical and robust waves change; with a shorter ambitus, a gurgling texture overlaying the breath, and a barely perceptible pulse. How can the living relate to this change, especially we when we in our technology-driven culture, don’t see ourselves as experts in either death or music?

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