An Intern Success Story
Written By: Camille Spooner, Texas Woman’s University
My time spent in the Trustbridge Addison Hines Music Therapy internship program, has been one of powerful moments and humbling experiences. To be able to walk with the various families during their hospice journey has truly been an honor, and one that I will carry with me for the rest of my professional and personal life. Perhaps the most significant experience was during a music therapy session for a wonderful woman within one of the inpatient units. The patient was imminent, with significant weight loss and very labored respirations. She had no relatives in her life to care for her, except for a group of very close women, from her Baptist church. They sat at her bedside, tearfully sharing memories of how beautiful the patient sang in the church choir and how they had become her only family. They spoke of their decades-long friendship with the patient, as well as how they took care of her needs in old age. The bond between the group of women was truly thicker than blood, race, or age.
The patient’s friends made requests of her favorite Baptist hymns and worship songs. They began to joyfully speak of their assurance of the patient’s homecoming, and would be going to a better place. Then, one of the friends requested the song “Amazing Grace,” as it was the patient’s favorite song to sing. During the music playing, the patient breathing pattern changed as she relaxed; at which point the nurse came in to be present with the patient and her loved ones. As I continued playing the song, the patient passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones. The gratitude felt by the patient’s friends for assisting in a peaceful transition through music, was palpable. I will never forget the love displayed by all the family, friends and staff. The quality of care provided for hospice patients at Trustbridge is truly amazing. It has been a pleasure to use music therapy during end of life care, as it is perhaps the most significant time in the lives of our patients and their families.