Music does not heal, but predisposes

The music therapists in a session with Pau, the sessions are personalized and last 20 minutes As every Monday morning, Àngels, Dul and Núria meet in one of the volunteer rooms of the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu to comment on the list of patients who will visit and specify their plan of action for the week. The visit of music therapists, who are part of the Ressó Association, is one of the most anticipated moments for patients with a long-term hospitalization or who continue treatments over time and for long periods. And it is that through the entry of music into hospitals, it seeks to “alleviate the stress that can lead to admission to the child,” says Nuria.

To this end, these three music therapists invest 17 and a half hours a week at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, which are mainly carried out in individual visits in their rooms to patients who remain hospitalized for a long time. “They are sessions of about 20 minutes and we try to customize them according to the age, disease, tastes and preferences of the patient …”, explains Angels, who clarifies that “we are only the main thread of these sessions and what we want is that the child acts as a musician, with the help of his family ».

Thus, when it comes to a small child, after singing the song of greeting personalized with his name, they perform rhythmic games with their hands and instruments, «which forces them to concentrate and this allows them to escape », Sing songs accompanied by these instruments or explain a musical story with sound effects. In the case of adolescent patients, improvisation of music with different rhythms works more and if it is done, they prepare their favorite song with a personalized letter.

Thus, always as a couple, music therapists, accompanied by their carriage of instruments of the most varied and original, visit one by one the rooms of those children who, by their state of health, can receive that day a very special session that helps lift your spirits.

“We don’t cure but we do supportive treatment,” says Dul, who points out that “when the mood is positive, the patient faces treatment and hospitalization in another way and that also affects the family.” Something that is verified with data. “When we visit the patients visually, we check that in the machine of the constants the heart rate decreases and, in parallel, the oxygen saturation decreases,” says Nuria.

This activity is also carried out at the maternity facility, where parents participate very actively. They, along with the music therapists, are in charge of singing songs to the baby and playing instruments, especially serious as they contribute to reducing noise pollution. And again, in this case, the results are demonstrated. «In 2010 an observational study was done on the effect of music therapy on babies when they were in the arms of their parents. The constants and the oxygen saturation level of the kid were observed before, during and after the session and it was verified that during the session the constants went down and the saturation rose and that this effect was maintained afterwards. Nuria explains.

A catalyst

The Day Hospital, attended by children who receive treatment for long periods, is also visited by Àngels, Nuria and Dul with their instrument cart, who also work in the mental health department, but in this case collective form Thus, during the ten years that the project has been underway, about 7600 children have been able to benefit from the beneficial effects of music therapy thanks to the almost 14 thousand interventions that have been carried out in Sant Joan de Déu during this time, long which therapists have collected anecdotes of all kinds that confirm that music awakens the mood of people who are in a hospital environment. “Many times, when a child leaves the ICU and is under the effects of sedation they call us because at that time they do not connect and through the songs they can be rescued, since it is something they always have stored in their brain,” he says Núria, who nevertheless emphasizes that one of the most shocking experiences was that of the reaction to the music of a girl with Rett Syndrome. “When we entered her room, her father told us not to waste time because the girl did nothing, however we began to sing and play and she started dancing and tried to sing,” recalls Nuria, who adds: “Ni his father could believe it ».

«Tico wants to sing»

Pau is 12 years old but the illness he suffers makes his behavior resemble that of a child of about 3 years. He is an outgoing boy, cheerful and enthusiastic but that mood is difficult to maintain when you have been hospitalized for a long time. The visit of music therapists is for him an injection of morality, strength and enthusiasm. “Tico wants to sing,” says Pau, addressing Nuria. Tico is his stuffed dog, his great support, which he never separates and sometimes uses to express his feelings or thoughts. The session begins. First it is time to sing the greeting song personalized with the name of Pau and Tico and then the boy makes his request: a song in which he must accompany the music with the sound of a drum and a tambourine. You have to coordinate and be very attentive and Pau fulfills his mission perfectly. Enjoy, play, smile. His mother confirms it. «Pau enjoys these sessions a lot because he likes people, movement and fuss».

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