Went to our other office today to observe their MT. She did two assessments, which both ended up being wonderful experiences! Both patients were elderly women, but had very different personalities and responses to the music. The first patient was initially very unreceptive to the MT and I. She lived at home with a 24hr caretaker (who was a middle aged Chinese-Filipino man, hard rocker, smoker, cut off jeans... the two made quite a pair!) She was sitting in her easy chair watching Deal or No Deal. The patient took one look at us and said in a harsh tone, "What do you want?!" as if we had dared to interrupt her mid-show. The MT politely introduced us and asked if the patient would like to listen to some music. "No!" the patient responded immediately. Thankfully, the MT was able to tell that quickly to not give up so easily and to keep trying. We definitely don't want to force music therapy upon our patients, but sometimes patients turn down anyone and everyone until they experience first-hand our purpose and that we're there only to help and be supportive. If I was ill and had person after person come into my home, asking me questions and prodding me with needles, I'd probably be the same! But anyway, the caregiver was very helpful and kept saying things like, "C'mon 'Sue', just let her sing a song. She plays the guitar and sings. You'll like it!" The MT added, "I think he (the caretaker) wants to hear a song... can I play one for him?" Finally, the patient huffed in frustration and nodded her head, agreeing to one song. The MT got out her guitar and began singing. Immediately you could see a reaction in the patient's affect. Her features softened and her eyes slightly glowed. It was obvious she knew the song. From there, the session progressed further as further through the continuum of acceptance, as the patient gradually opened up to the MT more and more. The MT made sure to continuously ask if the patient wanted to hear more. It's always important to ask the patient what their wishes are. Often times in the medical system, the wishes of a patient are often ignored, even though the patient is truly (unless consciously incapable) an expert in their own care. The patient went from refusing music all together, to saying, "Well alright" to the suggestion of another song, to "Yes!" It was so wonderful to see her open up and smile. She became a whole new person. The music transformed her from a cranky old lady to a sweet and loving woman. She smiled and watched intently as I sang "Blue Skies" for her, as if she was envisioning the blue skies in her head. At the end, the MT gave her the option of singing more songs, or singing a good-bye song. This is a good example of what I was saying earlier about asking the patient what they wished to do. Even though the patient was clearly enjoying our visit, she told the MT that she was tired and we should just say good-bye. She said it though in a very polite manner and kindly told us she was done for the day. We sang our good-bye song, and we all ended with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. :)
Too cheesy? Okay, maybe that was too cheesy... but it was all true!
The second patient was an adorable old lady with a big friendly smile glued to her face. When the MT saw the picture of the patient on the wall in a nurse's uniform, she asked the patient if she used to be a nurse. The patient's smile got even bigger! At least we know now that she understands what people are saying to her, even though she herself is nonverbal. The RN and HHA were just leaving as we arrived. The RN said that she was in a bit of pain from changing her dressing and the meds haven't kicked in yet, so it was good timing for us to be there to distract her from her pain. We played a few songs for her, and she slowly drifted off into a peaceful sleep. She was so sweet and cute!
Both patients were excellent candidates for music therapy. Patient #1 was able to experience some positive social interaction, while patient #2 was relaxed after a painful dressing change. All in all, a very successful start to the day :)
The second half of my day consisted of documentation and seeing the little Mexican ninos. Well. Nino. El otro nino was at his piano lesson. The MT made a clozed writing activity for the kids, but since the one son wasn't there, decided to save it for next week. Instead, she asked the boy for some of his favorite things, and then put them to music. The patient (his father) came downstairs during this, and so the MT asked for some of his favorite things, as well as added the older son's and the mom's favorite things.