AUAA… Episode 7 – Music in Medicine – Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

[ Music ] >> From the campus at Penn State Health Milton
S. Hershey Medical Center, welcome to “Ask Us Anything about Music and Medicine.” I’m Scott Gilbert. Music is actually a very big part of what
happens here at the medical center and where we are right now, which happens to be at Penn
State Children’s Hospital. You might have caught our latest “Penn State
Medical Minute” just last week. It was released on Thursday on PennStateHealthNews.org
and it was on this very topic. It was in that “Medical Minute” that we explored
the many ways in which music is put to use in the hospital setting with two of our experts. They are Jan Stouffer, a board-certified music
therapist; she is with us today. Jan, Hi. >> Good afternoon. Good to be with you. >> And also with us is Claire de Boer; she
is director of Center Stage Arts in Health. Hi, Claire. How are you? >> I’m well, Scott. How are you? >> Great, thanks. Thanks to both of you for being here today. So, music is really all over this place, and
that’s something that maybe people may or may not realize, and that’s what we want to
talk about today, especially from the therapeutic standpoint. We’ll start there, Jan. Tell us a bit about how music can be used
in a clinical setting to help control pain and anxiety and things like that. >> Well, we assess each patient and find out
their background information, their medical, clinical needs, their music preferences. And then we piece together music that is comfortable
and familiar to them and play it in a calm, sedative manner on guitar, live, and sometimes
we sing, sometimes we hum, but we use that music to help reduce their pain, reduce their
anxiety. And actually, when we have patients that are
on vital signs monitors, we can see their heart rates coming down, their breathing rate
coming down, their oxygen levels in their blood going up, so physiologically we are
seeing good things as well as the calming of the environment. >> You’re watching “Ask Us Anything about
Music and Medicine” from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.” Throughout this conversation, we welcome your
questions about the benefits of environmental music and music therapy. You can place them in the comment field below
this post and we will pose them to Jan and to Claire, and even if it’s after the fact,
you’re watching this on replay, feel free to ask the questions, and we’ll get you an
answer from one of them and post it as a comment as well. So, Jan, there’s a specific therapeutic purpose
to so much that you do. In fact, when you wheel this cool cart of
instruments that’s right behind us here into a room, again, it’s part of that patient’s
treatment plan. Correct? >> Correct. We work with the doctors and nurses. They place orders for music therapy services
for specific reasons, for the pain management, like you were just speaking about. Sometimes to help specific patients adjust
to being in the hospital and cope with all the changes in their lives. Also for functional rehabilitation needs,
we use drumming to exercise arms; we use singing to exercise lungs and speech. We might play wind instruments for the lung
exercise, so it can be physical exercise and rehabilitation. It can be emotional needs. It can be managing pain. And we work closely with the doctors and nurses
to determine what is most needed at any given time. >> I’m thinking of one time specifically I
was with you for a media story. You were in with a patient, a pediatric patient,
and the challenge was to get him moving, and you did that by pretty much setting up a drum
set in his bed. Is there a lot of improvisation involved in
what you do? >> A lot. [Laughs] A lot. We never know. Sometimes we’re meeting someone cold and we
never know, you know, anything about them, so we find out, like I said, their music preferences,
and this particular child just wanted to get his hands on drums. And we took what we had available, several
different drums, placed them around his bed and got him playing along with the music,
and we were able to get him focused and interacting so he was not focused on pain and being upset. He was not focused on being scared in the
hospital, and, by having the drum set placed around him, he was moving and utilizing both
arms, so therefore getting some exercise and some balance control and that type of thing. >> Back to that specific therapeutic purpose,
very interesting. More to come on music therapy. I want to switch to environmental music for
a bit and talk with Claire de Boer. She is, as I mentioned, director of Center
Stage Arts and Health here at the Medical Center. So, Claire, tell us first about Center Stage
and what it brings to the setting here. >> So, Center Stage Arts and Health is a whole
number, probably 12 different arts programs, and the general idea is to infuse the medical
center experience with the arts, be they visual arts, performing arts, music, in as many different
ways we can think of. So, we work with patients, caregivers, faculty,
staff, medical students. Anybody who is part of the medical center
hopefully has some experience with Center Stage Arts and Health. >> And when we go to the hospital, we don’t
always expect to see fine arts or hear fine music in the hallway, yet that’s exactly what
Center Stage brings to the hospital. Tell me about the benefits of that. Why do that? Why bring the music to, for example, near
the main entrance? Someone walks in and hears that grand piano
being played. What do they get out of it? >> So many people who enter a medical center
might be feeling some stress and some anxiety about the reasons that they’re coming here,
and if you see a real live person playing lovely music, it’s a way to kind of soften
the edges when they enter. It humanizes the environment. It encourages interaction that is separate
from their reasons for being here, and the overall idea is just to bring a sense of community
through music to our medical center. >> You’re watching “Ask Us Anything about
Music and Medicine” from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. I’m Scott Gilbert alongside Claire de Boer
and Jan Stouffer, and your questions are welcome. Just add them to the comment field below this
Facebook post and we’ll pose them to them in real-time or if you’re watching this in
replay you can count on an answer to your comment or question after the fact, as well. Claire, we’re talking about Center Stage,
and, tell me about the performances throughout the hospital and how those performances may
be tailored to a particular part of the building. >> So, our performances are professional musicians
from our region and we choose musicians who are not only excellent at their instrument
but also who play instruments that would be seen as, would be experienced as soothing,
calming, or even cheering. And then we choose, we look at the, we listen
to the instrument and watch the musician, think where would they best be suited. Some areas, like the surgical wait area, have
a lot of nervous people in there who are waiting for their loved ones in surgery, and I think
overall, they can use calming music. So we choose musicians and instruments that
are a little bit softer and are not going to interfere with somebody’s, perhaps their
need to have quiet, or to just help them relax a bit. Someplace like the main entrance, sometimes
we’ll have something a little cheerier, just because it’s a public area and people can
walk through and feel a little more happy to experience something joyful. So we just look– in a smaller area, it’ll
be just one instrument, maybe an acoustic guitar, and in a larger area, we can sometimes
have duos or trios. We just try to be sensitive to the population
who’s going to listen to the music and also the physical space, so it enhances the overall
experience. >> Of course, we are at an academic medical
center. So much of what we do here is based on evidence-based
approaches, and yet there seems to be some sort of intangible aspect to what both of
you do. Can you talk a little bit about that, and
obviously there is a specific therapeutic purpose, Jan, to so much of what you do. Yet, again there is the intangible aspect
of this as well, isn’t there? >> Oh, definitely. We have our clinical goals that we are working
on, but just like that memory that you have of the boy playing the drum set, when you
have a person that you walk into their room and they are scared, their affect is very
flat or neutral, they might even be hiding under the covers if it’s a small child, and
you can bring them out and engage them with the music. You see a whole change in their face. They brighten, they light up, they begin to
sing, they begin to play, and there are degrees of that, that you can’t chart in a note. It’s a feeling that the parents get, watching
their child, or a sibling, or if it’s adults we’re working with, other family members,
and we can just tell that that person is engaged, they are socially interacting, their spirits
have been lifted or they’ve shared something meaningful that allows them to just feel better
about being in the hospital. >> I know you have to make the distinction
between do you want to go after a more sedative effect with your music or a more stimulative
effect. That’s something you mentioned in the “Medical
Minute.” Give us an example. Now, when we opened this segment, you were
playing something that I think was a little more chill, a little more sedative. Can you show us an example of something that
might be a little more on the stimulative side? >> Sure, sure. Well, we might [music] if we’re going in and
someone’s favorite song is, if they like Bob Marley, and we’ve been doing “Three Little
Birds” on a fun day it might be “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna
be alright.” And that’s the stimulative version. If I go in the next day and they’re having
pain or nausea or difficulty sleeping, that’s still one of their favorite songs, so because
I am a live music therapist I can change it and turn it into a 3/4 lullaby that is calming
to them. “Don’t worry, about a thing” and so on. So you can take whatever song they like and
change the properties of the music so that it becomes a calming lullaby regardless of
age. And that’s the importance of having a live
music therapist or live musicians versus playing CDs and recordings because once something
is recorded, the only thing you can change is to make it louder or softer. And it is so important to have the flexibility
and adaptability in the moment of the session and our hospital and the administration has
recognized that and has supported having live music therapists on board. >> That’s fantastic. We have something coming up. Two sessions called “The Music and Rhythm
Workshop Series.” Center Stage is involved with that. They are on December 15 and 22. That is being offered through the Cancer Institute,
right? Penn State Cancer Institute. Claire, tell us a bit about what “The Music
and Rhythm Workshop Series” will entail and who it’s for. >> So, we have a sense that it’s not only
pleasant to witness music, but also to make it, and we need to be able to offer that experience
in a way that anybody can do it regardless of their musical ability. So we have chosen a musician who is a professional
musician but also a teaching professor of music to create workshops for our cancer outpatients
so it’s funded by the Cancer Institute. And those workshops enable folks to come and
be part of a musical group regardless of their musical background and just experience the
joy of music-making and we think also it helps build community, making music in a group. >> It sure does. Thank you for the information on that. If you would like more information about “The
Music and Rhythm Workshop Series” you can find that on the “Medical Minute” at PennStateHealth.org. I’ll ask Jan to play us out with maybe a little
bit of Bob Marley or something in the background or whatever you choose as we just kind of
wrap things up here. And thank you for tuning in for this edition
of “Ask Us Anything about Music and Medicine” here on the Facebook page from Penn State
Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Again, if you’re watching this on playback,
feel free to pose your questions. It’s not too late for us to get some answers
for you from Jan Stouffer, who’s our board-certified music-therapist, and Claire de Boer, who’s
director of Center Stage Arts and Health here at the Medical Center. On behalf of all of us, thanks so much for
tuning in. [ Music ]

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