Baptist Health Senior Care Behavioral Health-Fort Smith, in collaboration with Musicians On Call, has added a “Music Pharmacy” to its group therapy sessions. Musicians On Call is a national nonprofit that gives patients access to the healing power of music.
Mandy Kuykendall, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, secured three Amazon Fire tablets with access to Pandora radio and three pairs of Bose headphones to use during activities with the patients in the senior care unit. According to Baptist Health, Kuykendall organizes daily therapeutic group activities such as stretching, singing, games and crafts to provide cognitive and sensory stimulation. Many of the patients in the unit are over the age of 55 and experiencing some degree of dementia.
“Music is a common bond for our patients,” Kuykendall says. “Some will begin to remember concerts they attended when they were younger and start telling stories to each other. I love it when they sing along and share that it has been many years since they’ve heard the song.”
According to Kuykendall, each tablet also features three custom mixes with names like “prescription strength,” “chill refill” and “dose of joy.” Playlists feature music that promotes positivity and healing for the hospital environment, according to Musicians On Call.