Denver Health started its music therapy program in 2012 to help behavioral health patients staying in the hospital. The program has expanded to include children and adolescents in the pediatric intensive care units and child life program, as well as adults in palliative care.
Patients get together in groups and pick up instruments Denver Health provides to play.
Denver Health music psychotherapist Maria Gonsalves Schimpf, MA, MT-BC says music therapy is an effective form of communication for patients who do not like to engage in verbal conversation. "There is no skill required to participate in music therapy," said Schimpf. "Whether it's clapping hands, snapping fingers, singing, a song request, I use what they give me [in their therapy]."
Research has also shown that music therapy reduces stress, improves moods and decreases depression and anxiety.
Denver Health's music therapy program serves approximately 2,500 patients per year.
Denver Health also offers a once monthly lunchtime music therapy class for its employees as part of its wellness program.
Watch this short video to see music therapy in action at Denver Health.