General

Hospice from the Inside

Every interdisciplinary team of which I have been a member has had a particular and consistent reaction to the case description of very sick patients under 60 years old. Sort of a collective “ooph,” like everyone in the room has just been sucker-punched. I’ve seen this over and over again. Even the most experienced nurses and physicians do it. And I’ve been a part of it too, emitting a soft groan along with everyone else (less and less soft the younger the patient might be) at the moment of recognition. So I couldn’t stop myself from imagining what happened at the hospice team meeting, my old team from before I moved away, when my mother’s case was announced. Continue reading “Hospice from the Inside”

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General

On Boundaries

Boundaries can be difficult in any therapeutic context – some would argue they are troublesome in any context period – but there is a particular quality to boundaries in this work.  Where do the boundaries fall in music therapy end-of-life care, and what does it mean when we cross them?  I think of two main places where they feel tricky to me in end-of-life work.  One is in answering questions regarding my personal biographical information, and the other is in the context of stepping outside my “role” as the person who talks about feelings and plays music for and with patients. Continue reading “On Boundaries”

General

Music After Death

I recently won an award.  It was a complete surprise and I believe that I was nominated by several administrators and colleagues.  The award recognized me as an “Employee of Distinction” by an association for excellence long term care facilities.  I was obviously honored and completely surprised.  I was also, truthfully, feeling a bit perplexed.   Continue reading “Music After Death”

Advocacy

We are…not on the same page…

In honor of Social Media Advocacy Month (I never even knew that was a “thing” until now!), there’s a guest post from Judy Simpson, AMTA’s Director of Public Relations, circling the various music therapy interwebs. It is a well-written and thoroughly welcomed message. One part in particular stood out to me:

“For far too long we have tried to fit music therapy into a pre-existing description of professions that address similar treatment needs.  What we need to do is provide a clear, distinct, and very specific narrative of music therapy so that all stakeholders and decision-makers ‘get it.'”
Continue reading “We are…not on the same page…”

Foundational concepts

Depth

What does it mean to do “deep” work in end-of-life care?  Does deep just mean that we feel deeply?  Does it mean that we feel like we deeply understand the patient or family member that we are working with?  I’m considering this post to be a sort of primer to depth work in end-of-life care, as I conceive of it, and a place to introduce some concepts that all the editors will probably be writing about at some point or another. Continue reading “Depth”