Music for the soul
JourneyCare, Elgin Symphony partner to benefit hospice patients in Barrington
When it comes to treating seriously ill patients, it’s important to go beyond treating only pain and symptoms and, instead, care for the whole person – mind, body and spirit.
That’s the mantra of the health care team at JourneyCare, which is launching a new partnership with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) Musicians Care program.
“This new partnership complements JourneyCare’s philosophy of holistic care for patients, providing them with experiences that can bring comfort and help give them their best quality of life,” says Megan Andriano, supervisor for Integrative Care Services at JourneyCare.
Beginning August 18, an ESO duo will play once a month for the entertainment and comfort of patients and their families at the JourneyCare Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter, a 16-bed facility at 405 Lake Zurich Road, Barrington, Ill. The two-hour performances will be either conducted outdoors on the center’s central patio, from where patients can listen and watch while seated on the patios outside their private rooms, or inside the center’s central family area in inclement weather.
Each performance date will feature a different combination of instruments, such as violin and cello, flute and cello, two violins or violin and viola, says Wendy Evans, the director of community engagement and orchestra personnel for the ESO, 20 DuPage Court, Elgin, Ill.
“The Elgin Symphony Orchestra has had a truly special partnership with the Barrington Area Community Foundation, whose support has made this project possible,” says Emily Brownfield, director of corporate sponsorships and major gifts for the ESO. “We launched our Musicians Care program last year when we started performing at a local Barrington hospital and most recently recognized an opportunity to play for the residents, families and staff at the JourneyCare hospice center.”
JourneyCare serves as one of the nation’s premier providers of hospice, palliative and chronic care and is increasingly being recognized for its development of innovative programs – like the symphony partnership – to enhance quality of life for seriously-ill patients and their families. The JourneyCare service area encompasses 10 counties within the Chicago region.
Research has shown that music can reduce levels of stress-related hormones, enhance the function of blood vessels, lower heart rate, elevate mood, ward off depression – even improve sleep quality. Authors of a study published in April of this year (2018) in Scientific Reports, determined that music boosts the effects of blood-pressure medications.
“The ESO Musicians Care program offers the beauty and peaceful power of live music to those who are suffering emotionally, physically and spiritually while away from their homes,” Brownfield says. “ We provide a brief reprieve from the tremendous challenges that patients and families face during the time of care.”
Evans agrees, adding that performing for patients also has special meaning to the musicians as well.
“What surprises me most is the immediate, visceral feedback one gets as a performer in a hospital setting,” says Evans, who is a violinist. “It is unlike any other performance, because it feels more intimate. As a musician, I can sense more deeply the healing qualities of the music.”
In addition to the August date, ESO musicians will perform at the JourneyCare hospice center in Barrington on Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15 and Jan. 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“If the program proves as rewarding as anticipated, we will work with JourneyCare to find creative ways of funding and continuing the program beyond January,” Brownfield says.
With 40 years of healthcare leadership and expertise, JourneyCare has achieved national recognition for growth, innovation, community partnerships and best practices in caring for adults and children with serious illness. JourneyCare serves 10 counties in the Chicago region and is the largest nonprofit provider of hospice and palliative care in Illinois. The agency also provides services that include JourneyCare House Calls, Chronic Care Management and JourneyCare Choices – serving patients at all stages of serious illness. JourneyCare is dedicated to enriching lives through expert, compassionate care and empowering patients and families to live with dignity, on their own terms. To learn more, visit journeycare.org.