Calming sounds for PICU

When our Research and Arts in Health Programs collide, wonderful things happen!

The Matthew Scriver Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurses Scholarship was established by Matthew’s parents after his passing following a lengthy stay in PICU. The scholarship supports a nurse working in PICU to undertake a project focused on the holistic care of patients and their families.

PICU clinical nurse, Melissa Thompson, was awarded the scholarship in 2022, and explored complementary therapies, such as art therapy and music, to ease stress, anxiety and pain, and promote a sense of calm in the busy PICU environment.

As a result of Melissa’s work, our Music for Wellness program has now been extended into PICU, with harpist Ilona Weir performing weekly. Parents have expressed how Ilona’s harp music creates a calming space for the patients and families in this challenging environment.

Ilona playing to a family in PICU.

Ilona playing to a family in PICU.

Ilona says, “The gentle sounds of the harp can help to provide a calmer atmosphere in a busy and stressful environment. Studies have shown that the use of music in intensive care units can decrease anxiety in patients, and it can also help to reduce stress for families and staff.”

“Both parents and staff have commented that the music is very soothing, and that it helps to keep them calm.”

Melissa says, “I am so grateful to the Scriver family and the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation for supporting me to undertake this important project work.”

“Witnessing the positive effect Ilona’s music is having on the patients, families, and staff in PICU is incredible. Having something this good come from my project work is definitely the highlight of my nursing career.”

The Scriver family with Melissa Thompson. (Harp)

The Scriver family with Melissa Thompson.

We are so proud to be able to make such positive changes to the care of patients and families at the WCH, and that our Research and Arts in Health Programs can achieve these outcomes.

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