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Healthy People – Outstanding Care


February 27, 2009

Music therapy brings joy to Palliative Care patients


BROCKVILLE – A special program at Brockville General Hospital is touching lives during the most difficult moments.

Through the Brockville and District Hospice Palliative Care Music Therapy Program, accredited music therapist Courtney Radbourne works with patients during the final, difficult phase of life. Since September, she has been working three days a week with palliative care patients in Leeds-Grenville through the hospice palliative care program, at both sites of Brockville General Hospital and in patients’ homes.

Ms. Radbourne brings a variety of instruments to each session, including drums and smaller percussion instruments, a roll-up keyboard, and her own favourite, the guitar. She performs music with the patients, and they play and sing along. They discuss lyrics, music and life. Some patients even compose their own music. She says the families occasionally join in, and it becomes a relaxing interlude in a stressful period of life.

“It’s such a joy to work with Palliative Care patients,” she says. “It’s a moving and amazing learning experience about life, myself and other people. The patients have really taught me a lot and shared private and honest moments with me. That is such a privilege and an honour.”

The patients seem equally honoured to work with Ms. Radbourne. Some of their testimonials were displayed during a benefit concert held at First Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, March 4. One patient said she “never knew she could make music” but composed a piece so beautiful that it was performed during the concert. The patient’s name remains anonymous.

Another patient says Ms. Radbourne’s visits dispel the loneliness that often sets in during this period, and the daughter of one patient has told her that the music therapy session is the highlight of her mother’s week.

Ms. Radbourne says while it is very difficult when patients die, she is happy that music provides her with a chance to make a difference to a family during a difficult time, and “a powerful and honourable way to say goodbye.”

“It’s such a gift for me to be able to do that,” she reflects.

The Music Therapy program is supported entirely through donations. The 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation was able to provide funding during the first year, and the recent concert was one of the main fundraisers to provide this service in its second year.

The benefit concert held Wednesday was sponsored by the 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation and included performers Healy and Orr, Iain MacNeil, Rebekka Paige, A.J. Benoit, Melanie Morris and Dave Balfour of the band Guthrie House, and the program’s own music therapist, Ms. Radbourne. The emcee was Tom Janson.

Donations to the Music Therapy program can be made at the Brockville and District Hospital Foundation office, located on the ground floor of Brockville General Hospital’s Charles Street Site; call 613-345-4478. Donors can specify that their funds be used to support this program.

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Courtney Radbourne, an accredited music therapist, uses her guitar to bring joy to palliative care patients of Brockville General Hospital.

For more information, please contact:

Christine Endicott
Communications Officer
613-345-5649 Ext. 1-1504


Healthy People ~ Outstanding Care

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