Healing Arts

October 29, 2009 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Boredom As Paige points out, there are only so many Sudoku puzzles you can solve before you desperately need a new diversion from your illness.

Thankfully, Children’s knows all about the boredom that kids experience when bedridden for long periods of time. One of the Hospital’s solutions is to offer art and music therapies to sick children.

These therapies help young patients to focus their energy on creative projects, making it easier for them to maintain a positive attitude. Their upbeat frame of mind can translate into an easier recovery. 

Writing in the Spring 2006 edition of BCCHF’s Speaking of Children magazine, Kathryn Brimacombe explains:

The Hospital’s Child Life specialists and its music therapist work closely with doctors and nurses to identify the needs of individual children and their families and to help make their stay at the hospital a more positive experience. These caregivers, with backgrounds in child development, provide support, love, play and education to kids like Paige who are coping with stressful situations in their lives.

So, what exactly is music therapy?Healing Arts - Music 1 To answer this question, Ms. Brimacombe interviewed music therapist Erin Johnston. According to Johnston, who supports teenagers undergoing treatment for cancer, “Kids can express emotions through music that they can’t do verbally, or haven’t been able to do before.”

In music therapy, patients are encouraged to discover their emotions and musical creativity, even if they aren’t musically inclined. Paige especially enjoyed playing the electric piano and singing. Other teens and youngsters find it soothing to listen to music, while wannabe rock stars can write their own songs, create music videos, or test their talents on the guitar and drums.

Megan McNeil

Megan McNeil

Megan McNeil is a past Children’s patient who discovered an interest in both medicine and music through music therapy, penning her own songs as she struggled with her illness. Click here to read her story.

What other creative pursuits are popular with patients at Children’s? 

Scrapbooking, for one. Scrapbooking is another way to help young patients adjust to life within the hospital or ease the transition home. Scrapbooks are also used to encourage a child to remember the good times.

Brimacombe notes that scrapbooks can have a variety of authors. They are made by a Child Life specialist or the child’s family if the patient is quite young, or an older child may create one herself. Photographs are often included, capturing moments of the child in his hospital room; receiving treatment; with nurses, other caregivers and volunteers; and on outings. The health professionals who care for the child also write notes to him/her in the scrapbook.

In her next entry, Paige will use the blog as a scrapbook of sorts to tell you about her family and how her illness strengthened their ties. Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s post!

This post contains excerpts from Kathryn Brimacombe’s “Art & Music Help Kids Heal,” published in Speaking of Children’s Spring 2006 edition, pages 10-11.


Entry filed under: At the Hospital, Foundation, Paige. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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