The Soothing Sound of Music Therapy

The Music Therapy Institute aims to use sound to reduce anxiety, distract patients from pain, and bring out the good when it is most needed.

Hospice of Westchester (HOW), a not-for-profit healthcare agency that has been providing quality and compassionate end-of-life care to its patients for 25 years, is now offering music therapy to patients.

HOW recently partnered with the Music Conservatory of Westchester and its Music Therapy Institute (MTI) to offer the services as part of The Anna & Louis H. Shereff Complementary Care Program, and has already received positive feedback from patients’ families.

“Music is a big part of many people’s lives and can be an important part of end-of-life care. We have found that music therapy can bring back good memories, which can be hard at this stage’s in a person’s life,” said Laura Lemos-Vidarte, RN, patient care coordinator for Hospice of Westchester. “Music therapy helps reduce anxiety, can be a distraction when you are in pain, and brings out the good at a time when you need good.”

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“Each session involves meeting the individual in the moment while assessing their emotional and physical needs and musical preference,” says Julie Sherwood, MA, MT-BC, of the Music Therapy Institute. “Patients are engaged in a therapeutic process that is specific and unique to them. They may benefit from actively engaging in music therapy interventions such as singing, movement, playing an instrument with a therapist, reminiscing through song recall, sharing memories, and making musical choices.”

Using melody, harmony and rhythm, therapists provide gentle neurologic stimulation that focuses on reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and creating and reinforcing connections with others, specifically family members, when present. 


The Complementary Care Program also includes acupuncture, massage therapy, reflexology, reiki, pet therapy, and art therapy, and all of these services are offered to patients at no cost.

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