Literature spotlight – Meeting the Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic with Music Therapy

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What are the benefits of music therapy?

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Music Therapy is an evidence-based practice that provides “developmentally appropriate cognitive, motor, and social stimulation” to hospitalized neonates that has been shown to improve attainment of developmental milestones. Click To Tweet [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.21.1″]

Additionally, music therapy enhances parental bonding helping to support and “encourage more social and positive interactions between parents and infants.”

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Parental access restrictions and COVID-19

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As the COVID-19 pandemic surged, many NICUs restricted parental access, allowing only one caregiver at the bedside as well as universal masking for parents and staff.  These restrictions created unique challenges for music therapists, causing many institutions to seek out remote access alternatives to continue to promote connections between infant and family. 

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Enter Virtual Developmental Music Therapy Group

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To continue to support parent-infant interaction and connection, Brianna created an interactive developmental music therapy group in the Intensive Care Nursery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, CA.  Using a video-conferencing platform, Brianna began offering a virtual version of her music therapy classes twice a week over zoom.  When a patient is scheduled for music therapy class, the staff nurse caring for the baby or a parent at the bedside will login to the video-conferencing platform and join the session.  Other family members who are unable to join on-site can still participate virtually by joining the session from home. 

Brianna’s virtual sessions are bringing families together and providing much needed developmental support to babies during these challenging times.  

To read more about this unique program, you can access Brianna’s article via the Pediatric Nursing journal website here:

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Negrete, B. (2020). Meeting the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic: Virtual developmental music therapy class for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Pediatric Nursing, 46(4), 198-201, 206.


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