Chroma, a provider of neurologic music therapy (NMT) is working with children, and their families, recovering from acquired brain injuries or auto immune conditions.

York-based charity Jessie’s Fund originally funded the yearlong feasibility study and following independent evaluation has agreed with the hospital’s trust to extend the project for another year.  

Chroma’s music therapist will work as part of the multi-disciplinary team to support paediatric in-patients at Great North Children’s Hospital.

Specifically, music therapy will provide extra assistance to children who may not be able to, or do not wish to, communicate verbally as well as promote and maintain their emotional wellbeing, as well as being used within a defined neurorehabilitation pathway to support functional rehabilitation.

For children, coming to terms with a diagnosis can be difficult as can putting into words how they are feeling about it. Music offers children in this situation a way to help process and deal with their emotions.

The same too can be said for the families of the child, which is why families, more often than not, are included in the sessions. A diagnosis can put pressure upon a family when a child has a medical regime to follow and music therapy provides an outlet.

Lesley Schatzberger, founder and director of Jessie’s Fund, says: “We are really pleased to support Great North Children’s Hospital extend this fantastic service. Over the last year, we’ve seen the real positive impact music therapy can have on both the physical and emotional wellbeing of patients.

“For families, the holistic approach in paediatrics, much of which is non-verbal, helps them come to terms with the diagnosis and more importantly encourages them to be part of the rehabilitation process.”

Daniel Thomas, joint managing director at Chroma, adds: “Music has the power to transform lives and help children deal with their emotions whilst helping them to understand their health condition and situation.

“The music therapy project within paediatric psychology has provided children and their families with an alternative and creative musical medium to express and manage emotions, whether this is in a short-term in-patient setting, a planned piece of more long-term intervention, or within a group.

“Music therapy offers a non-verbal communication outlet for children who find verbal communication difficult. It has the ability to help children and their loved ones process and manage their emotions following diagnosis, helps provide more understanding between loved ones whilst helping all involved to accept diagnosis.”

The independent evaluation carried out by Innovate Educate Ltd highlighted the importance of a having a male professional in a predominantly female setting.

An occupational therapist on Ward 1B reflecting on the music therapist’s approach with families and fathers was: ‘passionate, responding to each child’s specific needs with warmth, kindness and gentleness’.

This is extended to parents, particularly fathers who found themselves in a predominantly female environment at a time of great emotional stress.

The music therapist was also observed to be providing an outlet for fathers by engaging and listening.