Music Therapy expansion at WCH

The WCH Foundation is excited to be growing the Music Therapy service to assist more patients and families under the care of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH)!

In the past 18 months, we’ve undertaken a Music Therapy Project through our Arts in Health program. The aim of this pilot initiative was to expand Music Therapy at the WCH into a hospital-wide service.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an evidence-based allied health intervention that provides a safe and cost-effective service to promote wellbeing, recovery and quality of life in hospitalised children across the paediatric age spectrum. It involves the use of music-based experiences to help children and their families better cope with their hospital journey.

Registered Music Therapist at the WCH, Maybelle Swaney, explains, “It’s not about me coming in and being the expert. It’s about learning from the families as the experts.”

“It’s asking families how they think music is going to be useful for them in that setting, and then working to see if we can build a bit of a bridge between here and there.”

Music Therapy has been shown to help WCH paediatric inpatients:

  • improve emotional wellbeing
  • increase motivation to participate in treatment goals and adhere to treatment
  • reduce levels of distress
  • improve recovery rates
  • improve states of calm behaviour
  • reduce re-admissions/re-presentations
  • reduce length of stay
  • improve consumer experiences of care.
Maybelle Music Therapist with guitar

Registered Music Therapist, Maybelle Swaney. Please note: these photos are from before masks became mandatory. 

Our Music Therapy Project

Over the past few years, we’ve been trialling a Music Therapy Project to see how a service like this could look in the WCH.

Now, we are excited to officially launch this growing service!

In addition to the already established Music Therapy services supporting oncology patients at the WCH, our expanded service will provide support for the most vulnerable babies in the neonatal nurseries as well as for adolescents – specifically those with mental health conditions based on extensive evidence supporting Music Therapy as a valuable therapeutic intervention for this group. We are also implementing a referral-based service across the WCH.

This expansion includes implementing a Team Leader/ Clinical Lead role who will oversee at least two other part-time Registered Music Therapists and have the capacity to supervise Music Therapy students.

We’re proud to say that Registered Music Therapist, Maybelle Swaney, will be stepping up into this leadership role!

She says, “I feel both privileged and excited by the opportunity to expand the Music Therapy Service.”

To learn more about Music Therapy in the WCH, click here

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