Emily Vawter has been a board certified music therapist for more than 20 years and has spent the last six years with Providence Hospice of the Gorge. She uses music to encourage reminiscent discussion, distract from pain, decrease isolation, and decrease anxiety. Despite physical limitations, patients are able to participate, often with their families. It is a positive experience that they can look forward to.
Thanks to your generosity, we expanded our music offerings in 2017. While Emily is the only musician who plays in patients’ rooms, we now have several other musicians who play in the hospital lobby for the enjoyment of all.
Music has the ability to change emotions and ease pain. That is why we have music in our hospital, memory care, assisted living, and hospice settings. “I visited an older Hispanic gentleman who asked if I knew any Spanish songs. I know some folk songs so I sang ‘Des Colores’ and he was pleased,” said Emily. “I asked him if there were some songs he’d recommend that I learn. He began singing a Spanish song with a lovely voice. He told me that was the kind of song he’d sing to his wife. He told me how he was in a Mexican band and played guitar and sang. I offered him my guitar. He played a song and taught me part of a Mexican song.” During the visit, his respiratory therapist came in to work with him. Emily offered to leave but the therapist said he’d come back later because singing was excellent therapy.
Healers know that music and medicine, when used together, are powerful tools to help soothe and calm patients, reduce pain and elevate mood. “Music can engage the entire family. It’s something they can still do together,” said Emily. Thank you for bringing music to our patients and their families.
“It’s something they can still do together”