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Thank you, Dr. Sacks

Written by Kally Ramminger, LPMT, MT-BC

I’ve watched the music therapy community mourn the death of Dr. Oliver Sacks over the past week. His legacy will live on forever, as he has helped so many people throughout the years understand the power that music has on one’s brain. Equally important, he also taught us the importance of preserving the humanity of every human being, regardless of their situation or diagnosis.

I’ve pulled together some of the most poignant words from Dr. Sacks (in my opinion), that have helped guide my understanding and role as a music therapist. Thank you, Dr. Oliver Sacks for your incredibly valuable contribution to this world.

You remind us that music is vital, essential to life.

Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

You remind us to look beyond the diagnosis of an individual.

In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.”

You remind us that our brain is fascinating organ and a never-ending exploration of knowledge.

It really is a very odd business that all of us, to varying degrees, have music in our heads.”

You remind us the power of death and the privilege we have as music therapists to be a part of the dying process.

When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”

You remind us that no two people, diagnoses, or experiences are ever the same.

Individuality is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal level. Even at a motor level, researchers have shown, an infant does not follow a set pattern of learning to walk or how to reach for something. Each baby experiments with different ways of reaching for objects and over the course of several months discovers or selects his own motor solutions. When we try to envisage the neural basis of such individual learning, we might imagine a “population” of movements (and their neural correlates) being strengthened or pruned away by experience.

Similar considerations arise with regard to recover and rehabilitation after strokes and other injuries. There are no rules; there is no prescribed path of recovery; every patient must discover or create his own motor and perceptual patterns, his own solutions to the challenges that face him; and it is the function of a sensitive therapist to help him in this.

And in its broadest sense, neural Darwinism implies that we are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths through life.”

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{All of the above quotes were direct words from Dr. Oliver Sacks.}

Why do we need a Music Therapist?

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It’s a great question, and one that we hear so often.

Can’t a volunteer provide these same services for free? Can’t a classroom teacher, whose salary is already in our budget, do the same thing that the music therapist is doing?

Hey guys, I get it. I’m a business owner, and sometimes it has to come down to the bottom line (even though we know that music therapy services can save your program money). But simply stated: just as a P.E. teacher cannot perform the duties of a physical therapist, a volunteer or classroom teacher cannot do the same thing as a music therapist. Here’s why:

  • In healthcare settings, Music Therapy (MT) is a prescribed clinical treatment option
  • In educational settings, Music Therapy is considered a related service under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Music Therapists are trained and qualified to assess the patient or client’s physical, emotional, educational, and/or spiritual needs
  • MT services are specifically designed to address a patient’s individual treatment plan or a client’s educational goals and objectives
  • Music Therapists complete and maintain clinical documentation after each session
  • Music Therapists have musical, clinical, psychological, and some medical education and training
  • All Music Therapists must complete a six-month clinical internship before graduating from their degree program
  • Music Therapists hold at least a bachelor’s degree in music therapy
  • Music Therapists must sit for and pass the national Board Certification exam to practice music therapy (MT-BC)
  • In Georgia, once board-certified, MTs must become licensed in the state (LPMT)
  • MT-BCs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing education every 5 years

Even if your program isn’t the same type as one listed here in the cost-savings overview, what if I told you that music therapy can add significant value to the services that your program already provides?

I was on the phone with one of our clients the other day, and she told me how valuable our services were for their private school for children with special needs …

“When parents send in their preschool program applications, they request to have their children in school on the same days that music therapy sessions are being held.”

“Families choose us because we offer music therapy through you.”

If you own or manage a program that offers services to children with special needs, or perhaps you provide services to hospice patients that are nearing the end of their lives, then chances are there are other companies surrounding you that offer that exact same services to the exact same potential clients/patients. So, you have to ask yourself, “What makes us stand out from the rest? What makes a family choose us over them? Why are we different?” 

This is a crucial time for healthcare facilities and special education programs. While music therapy is becoming more widely recognized as a healthcare profession, there are still plenty of people and places who have not yet heard of it or felt its effects firsthand. Owners and managers: this is your time. You can become more valuable by providing music therapy services to your clients. You should be one of the firsts in your area to include music therapy in the lists of services you provide. You should be the ones to introduce music therapy to your clients. You should be the ones to tell them how important music therapy is as a part of their treatment plan. You should be the ones to partner with clinically trained, nationally board-certified, and state-licensed music therapists.1mmtlogoresized

2016-12-03T04:33:12+00:00August 12th, 2015|MT Advocacy, MT Misconceptions, Music Therapy|

Music Therapy: Cost Savings

Can music therapy help your program save money?

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In short, YES. Music Therapy is a very cost-effective healthcare treatment. While more studies need to be done, here are our top four favorite studies that show how cost-effective music therapy is as a treatment:

  1. Walworth, D.D. (2005). Procedural-support music therapy in the healthcare setting: a cost effectiveness analysis. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 20(4), 276-84.
    1. MT had a 100% success rate of eliminating the need for sedation for pediatric patients receiving EEG; 80.7% success rate for pediatric CT scan without sedation; 94.1% success rate for all of the procedures
    2. The cost analysis resulted in the total per patient receiving music therapy being$13.21 and $87.45 for patients without music therapy = net savings of $74.24 (85%)
    3. The project resulted in saving 184 RN-hours for other duties
  2. Romo, R. & Gifford, L. (2007). A Cost-benefit analysis of music therapy in a home hospice. Nursing Economics, 25(6), 353-358.
    1. The total cost per patient in music therapy was $10,659 with $13,643 for a standard care patient, resulting in a cost savings of $2,984. The music therapy program cost $3,615, yielding a cost benefit ratio of 0.83. When using the cost per patient day, the cost benefit is 0.95
    2. 79% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the MT program increased their job satisfaction while 80% reported that knowing their company provided MT to its patients made their commitment to working with the company stronger
  3. Standley, J.& Walworth, D.D. (2005). Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Total Program, in J. Standley (Ed.), Medical Music Therapy, 33-40. AMTA.
    1. For the total expenditure in $57,600, the Florida State University affiliated music therapy/Arts in Medicine protocol in the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital reveal a total outlay for two partners of $17,247, or 70.1% of total savings
  4. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, University of Georgia Hospital at Athens, University of North Carolina Medical Center, and Florida Hospital Orlando conducted a 5-year study (2001-2006) using the of PAL™ I (prototype) in their NICU Music Therapy Programs. Results yielded a 5-day reduction in the length of stay for NICU infants, which translates into a cost savings of $10,000 ($2,000 day)
2016-12-03T04:33:12+00:00July 12th, 2015|Music Therapy, Uncategorized|

Freedom Isn’t Free – #MemorialDay

“Freedom isn’t free.”

We hear it so often, especially during the time surrounding patriotic holidays. But these words have been ringing loudly in my ear this weekend as I spend time with my family; drinking coffee in my pjs, watching movies, playing with legos, watching my children run through the sprinkler in their friends’ yard. My family is whole and complete this weekend and everyone is here with me enjoying this precious down time.

I doubt that any veteran or their family would want us to feel guilty for enjoying this holiday weekend while their loved one is overseas, here in the states working, or is home from active duty with a life-long injury or scar to remind them of their time-served. I don’t think that guilt will help anyone heal. I do think that each veteran and their family would appreciate a pause in our celebrating – just a moment to think about what their sacrifice has meant to them, their family, and what it is has done for each of us.

I wrote the song below this weekend and wanted to share it with you all. From my family to yours: thank you to all of the veterans and active-duty military who know the cost of our freedom.
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Freedom Isn’t Free
© Mallory Even 2015

They say that freedom isn’t free
In the land of love and liberty
Some pay a price that’s never known
Some pay the price and never make it home
The land of the brave and the home of the free
We only hope that you can see…
Because you’ve served, I can tuck my children in at night,
Because you’ve served, I’ll follow my dreams into daylight
Because you’ve served, I know the price you paid for me
Because you’ve served, we can be free – ee – ee – ee (repeat)

Watch it here:

 

2016-12-03T04:33:12+00:00May 24th, 2015|Holidays|

#Wellness – It’s for Everyone!

No matter what our daily grind entails, we all need an outlet. We all need to decompress. We all need to take our health into our own hands. And if we can be preventative as opposed to reactive, it’s going to be better for all of us. 

Wellness programs have provided a return on investment of around 3 to 1 for both direct medical cost and productivity in the workplace. Wellness and Staff Support programs focus on prevention and corporations are finding that providing wellness services for their employees are beneficial in a number of ways.

Did you know that Metro Music Therapy leads wellness sessions for healthcare providers? Our therapists provide employees in high-stress work environments with much needed downtime that can be difficult to otherwise carve out for themselves.

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Sam and Mallory led a Music Therapy & Wellness session at the Annual Retreat for the Georgia Society of Healthcare Chaplains in the fall of 2014.

Here at Metro we believe in wellness so much that we have started getting our team together once a month for our own wellness sessions! Our Clinical Director, Sarah Seo, is planning these events for us. Last month we had a morning full of coffee, conversation, and art. We created our own mandalas and had a chance to talk with the team about our current states of mind. It was such a relaxing and insightful morning for all of us. We can’t wait to see what Sarah has in store for us next month!

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2016-12-03T04:33:12+00:00May 21st, 2015|Medical, Mental Health, MT in Healthcare, Music Therapy, Wellness|

#SERAMTA2015

 

Sam, Mallory, and Sarah traveled to Columbia, South Carolina in March to attend and present at the annual conference of the Southeast Region of the American Music Therapy Association (SER-AMTA).

Sam taught a 3 hour CMTE course on Gear and Technology and how to integrate the “here and now” into your music therapy practice.

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Sarah and Mallory presented during a concurrent session on the topic of Music Therapy within the Mental Health and Substance Abuse populations. We had a packed house and loved being able to lead an interactive session!

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Thanks Columbia! See you again soon!

s, s, m

 

 

2016-12-03T04:33:12+00:00May 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|

#MTAdvocacy | Vision is Key

vision casting retreat

In December, our team loaded our luggage, our laptops, a handful of guitars, and a lot of food into 3 cars and headed up to a cabin in the North Georgia Mountains.

This was our very first company vision casting retreat, and MAN, did I have an agenda planned. I was so excited to get the team together (we are scattered throughout the Metro Atlanta area during the week). I had plans. I had an agenda. I had a lot of food to feed my team. I was ready to sink my teeth into creating the vision for our company!

Well, little did I know, my team had plans, too. Long story short, I sat in a room with 6 other music therapists and music therapy interns and was floored by the ideas they shared. The plans, the dreams, the vision. And not just for my company, but for the field of music therapy.

I think it is a positive occupational hazard, being a visionary. As a music therapist, I always feel driven to educate and advocate in all manners relating to our field. My team is of the same mindset, and most other music therapists that I know are just as excited to go tell the world about what we do.

So what does vision have to do with Music Therapy Advocacy?

Kimberly Sena Moore puts it this way:

As the profession of music therapy has been moving forward with recognition at the state level, it has been identified that a document was needed to reflect a similar format to other health care professional organizations Scopes of Practice. CBMT and AMTA worked together to create a Scope of Music Therapy Practice (2015) for the profession based on published documents from both organizations.  This new document entitled Scope of Music Therapy Practice (2015) is available as an educational tool and legislative support document that broadly defines the range of responsibilities of a fully qualified music therapy professional with requisite education, clinical training, and board certification.

Without vision, our field would not be gaining recognition at the state level. Without vision, our field would have no need for the Scope of Music Therapy Practice. And without vision, us music therapists would have no one with whom to work. What a devastating thought, because this world needs more music therapy, not less.

So let’s get moving, friends! Have you cast your vision yet?

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Happy Advocacy Month

 

 

 

2016-12-03T04:33:12+00:00January 20th, 2015|For the Music Therapist, MT Advocacy, Music Therapy|
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