We are Bruyère


Striking the Right Note with the Music and Memory Program


March is Music Therapy Awareness Month and the Music and Memory program is literally music to patients and residents’ ears. This new initiative is another great example of Bruyère getting creative to enhance lives and transform care.

It all started in the spring of 2014, when Therapeutic Support Services staff participated in webinars so Bruyère could become a certified Music and Memory site. This initiative caught the attention of Angela Paric, a PhD candidate and a volunteer at Bruyère.

Angela developed a research project to measure the benefits of music and all that jazz. Eight patients in complex continuing care participated in the study. Among them is Janet, born in London, England, and a big fan of Michael Bublé.
“On days when I have really been in agony, I put a tune on and hear that nice music. I listen to it and sing along, it helps. It stops me from getting to that dark place. I don’t go there anymore, I just put the music on and it stops me from getting to that point,” explains Janet.

Results showed reduced negative emotions and increased life satisfaction. This, along with qualitative evidence, suggests that personalized music listening positively affects complex care patients’ well-being.

This study was the prelude to implementing Music and Memory program on other units at Bruyère. Soon, over 100 iPods fine-tuned to each patient’s taste will be in circulation.

Creating a personalized playlist for each patient or resident required support from the Information Systems Services team. With their help, Kim Durst Mackenzie, coordinator with Therapeutic Support Services along with other staff and volunteers were able to establish designated computer stations to upload the personalized playlists and charge the iPods.

“The future for Music and Memory looks fantastic. A generous family made a donation in palliative care to be put towards the Music and Memory program. We have purchased iPods, headphones, pillow speakers and music,” reveals Kim.

In long-term care at the Saint-Louis Residence and the Élisabeth Bruyère Residence, Kim drummed up support from families to help design a playlist that embodies their loved ones’ essence.

“The bazaar volunteers at the Saint-Louis Residence have been very supportive of the Music and Memory Program as well. We look forward to their continued support as we move this project forward.”

At Bruyère, it is clear as a bell that art therapy, including music - the quickening art - is a remarkable way of enhancing Lives and transforming care.