Making special moments through music in hospice care

Posted by Nicole Kaufmann, Music Therapist

Making special moments through music in hospice care

Moments matter. This phrase has been on my mind as I reflect lately on my work as a music therapist and as a hospice worker. From a simple smile and “good morning” to the woman sitting alone in her chair, to an entire team coming together to surprise a patient with a birthday party, I’ve seen how much this rings true.

The moment that changed my own course happened when a hospice nurse took the time to show her support at my own grandfather’s funeral. As my family thanked her and called her an “angel,” I realized that I wanted to do something that touched people in a similar way. This inspired me to press on to become a hospice music therapist.  

In more than four years that I’ve now worked as a music therapist, I have seen firsthand the role that music plays in creating meaningful moments for patients and their families. Music therapists are board-certified clinicians who are trained to use music as a tool to accomplish individualized, non-musical goals based on the patient’s symptoms and needs. Some of these goals include providing emotional support throughout the dying process, reducing anxiety and agitation, as well as providing opportunities for reminiscence and legacy building.

Through all of it, there is an opportunity to create meaningful moments with those that we serve. There are many ways that music is used to support our families. Through songwriting, individuals can express feelings of faith, acceptance and struggles, while also providing opportunities for making lasting memories with loved ones. Live music and presence has allowed families a safe space to grieve, share and comfort one another during otherwise difficult moments.

Music has provided a backdrop for dancing, laughing, crying and, of course, a lot of singing! There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not humbled as I see families coming together, sharing moments of peace, and patients being moved by a memory or a special song.

I have learned so much about faith, love and courage just by getting to go along the journey with the patients and families that we serve every day. I am so grateful for all the special moments that I’ve been able to witness and for the opportunity to do what I love each and every day. 

At JourneyCare, we elevate care to its most advanced level with Integrative Therapies. Learn more about them.

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