A Time to Sing: The Healing Arts Program

Music heals the soul. As a Certified Music Practitioner for over nine years, Lisa Bassett uses music– the physics of sounds, rhythm and resonance, combined with tone and melody, to create a healing space for patients at Swedish Covenant Hospital.  As a component of Swedish Covenant’s Healing Arts Program, patients receive this service at no cost, thanks to generous donations to Swedish Covenant Health.

When Lisa enters a patient’s room, she listens, observes and then responds to the patient’s needs in the moment with a melody that may calm, relax or uplift. With a repertoire of several hundred songs that range in musical genre and language, Lisa connects to patients of different backgrounds and cultures by singing melodies that provide comfort at a stressful time.

Lisa has always loved to sing and was eager to blend her love of music and experience as a vocalist with her compassion to help others.  She received her certification as a Music Practitioner because it’s a unique type of training that uses musical techniques to complement medical science which fosters healing in patients and their families. She usually sings at the patient’s bedside and everyone present in the room—including family members and medical staff—respond to the music. As Lisa notes, “Patients, staff, and families are recognizing the healing benefits of therapeutic music. Music also stimulates the patients’ own innate capacities to heal.”

Patients and their families are changed by the interaction. A sampling of the responses include:

  • A nurse in ICU said of a patient after Lisa sang to him, “His oxygenation is better, his heart rate is down and his blood pressure is lower.”
  • A husband sang along to a gospel song while nurses changed a tube for his wife. He wept and took Lisa’s hand.  “Bless you.”  His wife had fallen asleep.
  • Lisa began singing to a patient in Spanish. Within moments, the patient began singing and then staff, passing by, entered the room and began singing along. Hearing laughter from the room, a nurse at the Nurses’ Station exclaimed, “It’s a party!”’
  •  Lisa sang show tunes with a woman having trouble walking down the hall. The patient stopped, sang a few songs with Lisa and then exclaimed, “It’s so good—it gives you energy!”

Music, so simple yet so beneficial to the soul. Lisa’s music is providing comfort and healing to patients and their families. This innovative program, an integral component of our Healing Arts Program, is made possible by SCH Foundation and our generous donors.  Your support helps change lives.  For more information about donating to Swedish Covenant Health, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or foundation@swedishcovenant.org

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