Spending time in hospital can be difficult for adults let alone for children but at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Child Life Therapists and Music Therapists help brighten their day.
Roxanne has been a Music Therapist at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for 12 years, visiting patients one on one at their bedside, helping them to engage in playing instruments, singing, composing, relaxing, and talking about music.
For patients, Music Therapy brings something familiar, fun, and non-threatening into their environment and something the whole family can enjoy, which helps children not only cope with hospitalisation, but also in building resilience and coping skills. It's thanks to the generous support of our Movement of Many that in FY22, Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation was able to support 22 positions across the Network to help educate, entertain and support kids in hospital - including Music Therapists.
“Harnessing the effects of music, we can tailor therapy to a child’s individual needs in a way that gives them a way to express themselves while taking the attention away from their treatment and giving them a chance to be a kid rather than a patient,” said Roxanne.
Research has also found that there are many benefits to using patients’ preferred music which can aid in their recovery. These include using music to motivate and coordinate movement for physical rehabilitation, gaining or re-gaining developmental skills, reducing stress, anxiety and pain perception, and providing avenues to express thoughts and feelings even non-verbally. Even for infants in Intensive Care environments, music therapy can positively impact their sleep and behavioural states so that they can conserve their energy to heal and grow.
“Music Therapists also work with other staff to support recovery, whether this is working alongside nursing staff to provide procedural support, or if it is working with other allied health staff in interdisciplinary sessions where the inclusion of music enhances the achievement of therapeutic goals,” said Roxanne.
For Roxanne, every day is different as a Music Therapist and she says being able to facilitate experiences that become positive memories for patients and families is a privilege.
“I love leaving at the end of a session knowing that I have made a difference in the day of a child and their family. I am always amazed by the imagination, creativity and tenacity of the children I work with. Even on the sick and painful days, these kids and their families can still benefit from music therapy. They inspire me to do my best to bring some joy and peace to their day.” said Roxanne.