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Oberlin collaboration brings music into health settings

Posted May 29, 2019 in Articles

Author: Kevin Martin, The Morning Journal

A new pilot program at Oberlin’s Mercy-Allen Hospital is adding a musical touch to patient care.

A collaboration between Mercy Allen and the Oberlin Center for Arts is bringing musicians from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music to perform for patients and their families.

The Performing Artist In-Residence program, or PAIR, has been in development since the fall and has been in a pilot run for the past six weeks.

Two rotating musicians, a cellist and a guitarist from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, rotate weekly in performing in Mercy Allen’s rehab wing in addition to Oberlin’s Welcome Nursing Home.

Darren T. Hamm, executive director of the Oberlin Center for the Arts approached Mercy Allen President Charlotte Wray.

“We had first gotten together and we found that she shared a vision for connecting the arts and medicine which to me is exactly what I was hoping to find," Hamm said. "You don’t know when you start out. You have an idea: okay there’s a bunch of musicians at Oberlin Conservatory; they have an interest in playing. Where can we find them playing that’s not traditional?

"So, I talked to Char (Wray) about this idea of connecting musicians in place to connect individuals and their care," he added. "She was instantly interested in putting it together and seeing it happen.”

Wray sees the positive effects not only on patient care, but changes the environment of the entire space for patients, caregivers and medical staff.

“Not only is it demonstrated to have a positive impact on the well-being of patients and their family members, but also the caregivers,” Wray said. “So nurses and doctors in the hospital work with incredibly hard, there's a lot of stress. And here at Allen, you know, we can up to 25 patients, and they can be very ill. The doctors and nurses work long days. So it's not only therapeutic for the patients, but it's therapeutic for the staff as well.”

She added the overall experience has been overwhelmingly positive and has seen it improve patient experience and employee engagement.

“We are very, very fortunate right, to be in Oberlin providing healthcare, with some of the most talented musicians in the world, right,” Wray said. “So it's, it's, there's an energy, there's a vitality, you know, amongst these, these students, and it's contagious, you bring them into the hospital. It's just wonderful.”

In building the program Hamm said he hopes to grow it to 10 rotating musicians year-round and are using current musicians to help document their experiences to help shape it moving forward.

Original Article: https://www.morningjournal.com/news/lorain-county/oberlin-collaboration-brings-music-into-health-set

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