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news News Monday, March 16, 2020 Monday, March 16, 2020 5:41 PM - Monday, March 16, 2020 5:41 PM

Music therapist, Keeley, strums her way through the inpatient unit

Music therapist, Keeley, strums her way through the inpatient unit

March is music therapy month, and although we love to celebrate the program year-round, we want to highlight the program this month. The music therapy program at the Portland Shriners Hospital is coordinated by our child life specialists and is under the direction of Keeley, a visiting consultant and owner of Singing Tree Music Therapy. Keeley has been a regular visitor to our inpatient unit for the past four years, and conducts music therapy sessions with our patients every Monday and Thursday morning. Every session is tailored to fit each patient’s needs and addresses long-term goals that the patient may be working toward.

“It’s important to meet a patient where they are, to successfully promote self-expression and choice-making, which helps patients be more cooperative,” said Keeley.

Music therapy may be used as a direct form of treatment to help with procedural assists, dressing, pain management, sleep support, agitation or disorientation. Additionally, music therapy is used as a means to address ancillary goals for the patient including socialization, communication and impulse control.

Keeley works directly with our child life specialists and schoolteachers to understand the goals of each patient and use the sessions as opportunities to address those goals through a musical lens. A detailed summary of the session, including how the patients engaged and responded to the therapy, is provided to the child life specialists after each session. This allows hospital staff to continually monitor goal progression or modify existing goals to honor achievements made by the patient.

“Our music therapist, Keeley, has become a special part of the child life and patient care team!” said Cindy Millard, certified child life specialist at the Portland Shriners Hospital. “She has taught us that music is a universal language that resonates with our patients of various abilities and ages, that music is a therapeutic. Patients with limited verbal skills are able to connect with her in amazing ways! There are several patients who ask for Keeley every time they are admitted to the inpatient unit!”

Music therapy is an important part of the wrap-around care that patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland receive, and having such a dedicated individual like Keeley engaging with our patients improves their hospital experience, gives them an opportunity to express themselves and boosts their confidence.