Arts for Healing Patient Stories

Music therapy is a part of the Arts for Healing Program at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Below, the relative of a patient and one of our own music therapists share stories of how music therapy can help support patients at various times during a hospital stay.

Jeff Paden, nephew of a Sharp Memorial Hospital patient, shares his story of working with one of Sharp's music therapists while his aunt was a patient at Sharp Memorial Hospital.

Jeff's Story
A huge blessing was the music therapist, Amy, at Sharp Memorial Hospital. She is to be greatly commended for her giftedness and her perseverance.

She played and sang some of the old-time hymns that my aunt grew up with. My cousins were moved to tears.

It was a cathartic time, that they all told me later was one of the highlights of their mother's death. One of them said that Amy has "the voice of an angel." I'm already putting in reservations for Amy to sing for me at my passing.

Amy Andrews, a music therapist at Sharp HealthCare, shares stories of comforting and supporting patients through her music therapy.

Amy's Stories
I visited on two occasions a patient exhibiting respiratory distress and anxiety with other complications. She had been in the intensive care unit for two weeks and had had no family visits. She smiled, telling me her favorite style of music. So I played and sang "Don't Worry, Be Happy" among others and together, we constructed a list titled "The Don't Worry, Be Happy List." The patient described small actions she could take in her life to limit worry and increase her happiness. The list included things like a clean, open home and connecting to her children. She smiled and asked for another visit.

I was referred to a man on the oncology floor where he would be receiving chemo to treat cancer. He also had not been receiving any visitors. He told me that he likes the song "Amazing Grace." Shortly after beginning the song, he started to cry, turning his face away. I played in a way to communicate "you are safe and your tears are welcome," moving from Amazing Grace to other spiritual songs gently. We spent 10 minutes or so like this, him releasing and me supporting. He said, "I really needed to cry and the music helped me. Thank you so much." Music therapy allowed the patient to express himself in a safe, noninvasive way. It helped him to acknowledge his feelings and the challenge he is facing.

For More Information
To support the Arts for Healing Program, donate now. To learn more about Sharp's alternative medicine services, call the Spiritual Care Office at 858-939-3475 or send us an email. To find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.