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Piano Donation To Local Hospital To Help Patients, Visitors And Staff

Pat Bradley/WAMC

Officials at the University of Vermont Health Network Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh recently cut the ribbon on a unique donation to the facility that they hope will help patients, visitors and staff.
Music soothes the weary soul.
It’s proven to have a therapeutic effect and the staff at CVPH is excited to have a new baby grand piano in the lobby. As she cut the red ribbon encircling the piano, the hospital’s Associate Vice President of
Learning and Development Julie Brunell explained that her family donated the instrument in memory of her parents Dorothy and Arthur Pickard.   "It’s a great honor for us to be able to donate this grand piano. My mother was a music major and a music teacher for her whole life.  Our whole lives were filled with music as a backdrop for everything that we did. My father was always supporting everything that she did in the musical vein. They would just be so thrilled to see that our piano is here and it's going to remain here at CVPH and send beautiful music through the hospital to the patients and their families. There's  nothing to me more healing than music."
Foundation of CVPH Board President Neil Fessette says while there is nominal maintenance, it was a unanimous and quick vote to accept the donation.  "One of the ways the hospital is trying to improve patient care is through the integrated therapy activities. This piano, music is healing and patients that are able to come down and listen to the music, we think it's a nice thing to have for them."
Critical Care Department Clinical Nurse Specialist and Practice Manager Kathleen Carey is chair of the Integrated Therapy Services Committee. A few months ago they began looking at music appreciation and how they could bring it to patients, families and staff.  "We know music has physiological effects for us that will help our overall wellbeing and sense of calm. We know music, if the right music is played the music that you like, can reduce blood pressure. It can reduce heart rate and it boosts our immune system."
Carey says that adding music therapy is part of the hospital’s patient centered concept.  "We’ve had integrated therapy here at our hospital since the early 90's.  So we have always appreciated the sense of  integrated therapy and how Eastern and Western medicine are important.  We will always follow the physician's plan of care. But to be able to offer some alternative or integrative therapy to that plan of care can only help. We offer pet therapy here.  We also have a strong spiritual care department. We now will offer music therapy.  We offer healing touch. So over the years we have really developed this concept because we know it's important. Approximately 48 to 68 percent of Americans practice integrated therapy. That includes vitamins and minerals." Is that also known as holistic?  "Yes, very much."
Foundation of CVPH Executive Director Kerry Haley:  "It’s pretty unique.  I think there are a few other hospitals that I've heard of who have a piano but not many that I know of.  It just adds to making CVPH a
special place."
The hospital hopes to recruit volunteers to play on a regular schedule.

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