Music therapy is highly-regarded by medical professionals as a safe way to support people living with life-threatening illness, by providing comfort and relief, and allowing people to explore and express difficult emotions.
And now thanks to the generosity of our Dry July supporters, The Alfred has introduced a special music therapy program for its palliative care patients.
Lucy Forrest is a registered music therapist, researcher and clinical supervisor, and her role with The Alfred’s oncology and palliative care department is completely funded by this amazing community support. Having been involved in oncology and palliative care for more than 20 years, she knows full-well how important music can be to aid someone’s care.
“Music can help in a number of different ways,” she says. “It can provide symptom support when someone has anxiety or pain, is breathless or isn’t sleeping: I can use music to calm and relax, settle and distract them, helping to reduce anxiety and distress.
“Then there is creative music therapy, which is about helping people live fully until the end. They may want to engage in life review, learn to play an instrument, or create a legacy, such as writing a song to leave for a child, a grandchild, or their partner.
“It may also be about just using music to take them out of the space that they are in, so they are not focused solely on their illness. Music can transport people to other times and places, through memories and stories, helping them to re-engage with their well self, and providing opportunities for sharing and support between family members.”
Lucy’s message to those who helped fund her program is one of heartfelt gratitude.
“Thank you! Being able to bring music into people’s lives during difficult times is so important, especially for our palliative care patients and their families,” she says. “Research shows that music can positively impact physiological responses, transform people’s experiences of palliative care, and bring comfort and support. That’s why I love this work, and the opportunity to develop a new program in an amazing place like The Alfred is very exciting.”
The Alfred is committed to providing best practice care which includes the benefits of allied therapies to improve health and well-being but none of this would be possible without your support. A big thank you to everyone who participated in, or supported others, as part of Dry July 2017. Thanks to your generosity and dedication, so many patients, loved ones and carers will benefit from this wonderful program.