“Healing Harp” Brings Tranquility to Patients

Harp music has a positive effect on hospitalized patients, according to a number of studies – and based on first-hand observations at Phelps. 

Harpist Jill Scherer, RN, who works as a nurse at another hospital, volunteers at Phelps to bring soothing music to patients and help reduce their anxiety. The “Healing Harp” program was initiated by Jill and Bernadette Hogan, Phelps Nurse Manager. “It’s amazing to see patients light up,” says Bernadette. “The harp tones bring about a complete change in their body language and anxiety level.” Eve Urban, Director of Volunteer Services, agrees: “Families of our patients have told us how much they love the music and how calming it is for their loved ones.”

The effects of harp sounds on one very ill male patient and his daughter were profound. “When Jill started to play, the response was so touching,” recalls Bernadette. “The father closed his eyes with a smile and his daughter held his hand, tears streaming down her face. She said she had not seen her father so relaxed in a long time. The music and the peacefulness he felt helped her release her own sadness and anxiety surrounding his illness and hospitalization.”  

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