Therapeutic Music Program Helps Cancer Patients

By Sharon Boston

Media Relations Manager

Music and sound, such as a happy song on the radio or the frightening score of a scary movie, have the ability to change our moods. Many people have a physical and emotional connection to sound, and scientific research has shown that music can be beneficial in healing.

Now, through a grant from the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, the University of Maryland Medical Center is offering live therapeutic music to patients receiving treatment at the Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Therapeutic musician Terri Fevang plays keyboard pieces tailored to each patient’s mood or emotions, so each visit is different. Some patients may be anxious while awaiting test results, while others may be tired after receiving chemotherapy or radiation.

“The music is peaceful and calming, and takes my mind off my pain and worries,” says Jessica Montgomery, a 29-year-old leukemia patient. “When Terri comes in, we turn the TV off and just listen to her play. My dad is usually there too, and he often falls asleep because it’s so relaxing.”

The live therapeutic music program is part of the Medical Center’s Integrative Care team, which offers treatments such as acupressure, guided imagery and yoga breathing to patients throughout the hospital, including the Shock Trauma Center.  The goal is to help patients relax, optimizing health and healing.

Terri playingThe Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation grant also allows researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine to study the potential benefits of live therapeutic music for these cancer patients. The grant will fund a pilot study to see if the therapy can affect patients’ anxiety, mood and quality of life as well as some physical indicators such as pulse oximetry, which measures the pulse and oxygen in the blood.

“We have received a great deal of positive feedback from patients about the music program. Now we want to see if the data supports this encouraging anecdotal evidence,” explains Chris D’Adamo, PhD, director of research at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, which is part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

If the pilot program with 30 patients is successful, researchers hope to launch a larger study on the benefits of therapeutic music.

 Click here to see a WBAL-TV story about the live therapeutic music story.


Service Excellence: It’s Not Just for Hotels Anymore

By Johnie Carr
Director of Operations
Commitment to Excellence & Support Services

OK, admit it, you like to be catered to, don’t you? C’mon, it’s OK to say it. You love it when people call you “sir” or “ma’am,” right? It feels great to have someone acknowledge you by name when you walk into a restaurant and ask, “Will it be the usual?” and you respond, “Why yes, make it the usual!”

The truth of the matter is that we all enjoy receiving great service. If you frequent hotels, then you’re probably used to receiving such service. In fact, I’d venture to say that you even expect it. So, I was thinking about this the other day, and I wondered, what kind of service do people expect when they visit a hospital?

When you stay at a hotel, you can pay anywhere from $150 to $800 a night. By contrast, when you stay at a hospital, you can pay upwards of $1,200 a night, and that doesn’t even include those little soap and lotion bottles. For most people, there is already a high level of anxiety around having to visit or stay at a hospital. I don’t think anyone would argue that something about that needs to change.

That’s why at the University of Maryland Medical Center, we’ve embarked on a journey to transform the patient experience by providing the safest care anywhere, exceeding customer expectations and becoming an even greater place to work. It is a strategic engagement that we call “Commitment to Excellence” (C2X), and it is the distinctive way that we care for our patients, our guests and for one another at UMMC.

Commitment to Excellence is a personal commitment made by every UMMC employee to help build and sustain a culture of excellence across our organization. To support this, we have developed the UMMC Pillars of Excellence: People, Service, Safety & Quality, Stewardship and Innovation. These pillars represent the foundation of our relentless focus to provide information, courtesy and responsiveness to every patient and guest.

Through employee engagement and empowerment, reward and recognition for providing great service, associate training education and development and surveying our guests, we are working hard to create an environment of service excellence that is second to none.

Our hope is that the next time you choose to visit our medical center, you will personally experience this culture of patient-focused care and commitment to excellence. Service excellence … it’s not just for hotels anymore.

I’d love to hear about your service experience at the Medical Center. You can contact me via e-mail — — or phone — 410-328-0027.