Music therapy helps hospice patients and families

Categories: Care.

“Mr. Gregg: the Life of the Party” follows Robert Gregg, a Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care patient, suffering from memory loss and agitation due to advanced illness. Music therapy has helped restore some of the lighter and more cheerful aspects of Mr. Gregg’s personality and has been a positive addition to his care.

Music therapy was introduced into Mr. Gregg’s care after a hospice aide realized he was responding positively to the songs she would sing to him. Sara Harris, Board Certified Music Therapist at Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care, was brought in to Mr. Gregg’s home to provide music therapy sessions. She offers a reassuring tempo that allows Mr. Gregg to adjust his breathing to sustain both happiness and peace. In the video, Mr. Gregg sings along with Sara, claps his hands, and has a broad smile on his face.

Jackie Gregg, Mr. Gregg’s wife, was unsure at first how music therapy would help him. But once Sara started playing her guitar, she noticed Mr. Gregg moving his shoulders and toes. He seemed very happy.

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“Music bridges a gap between their reality and our reality,” says Harris. “And for families who may have not seen their loved ones speak or sing or anything the past few years, it’s just absolutely priceless.”

“As a musician, I believe in the power of music to transcend words and connect people,” says NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “Music therapists help provide physical and emotional peace to patients and families at the end of life.”

Mr. Gregg’s video is part of the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice public awareness campaign launched by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in 2014. The campaign features stories from hospices and palliative care programs across the United States of patients and families experiencing hospice and palliative care first hand. Moments of Life was created to help people understand that hospice and palliative care help patients and family caregivers live as fully as possible despite serious and life-limiting illness. Visit to learn more.

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