the torch Winter 2016, Issue 4 | Page 4

2 From the President My te a m-mate s – we incorporate certified music practitioners into know my secret. I love our clinical care. These men and women are music. All kinds of specially trained musicians who provide live music music. To be more at a patient’s bedside. Their work is focused on specific, I have 12,456 songs on my playlist. bringing comfort to the patient’s whole being – That’s why I was fascinated by a recent article in physical, emotional and spiritual. Just one year The New York Times entitled, “My Deathbed ago, the average number of monthly requests for Playlist.” I am very familiar with end-of-life music practitioners was approximately 340. Today, planning, health care proxies and powers of we receive up to 1,500 requests. That’s powerful. attorney, but NOT with a “deathbed playlist.” The It is a need we feel we must continue to meet. author suggests that many of us plan for the music Research suggests that music can reduce heart at our funerals but before then, “many of us will rates, enhance sleep, help with pain, reduce anxiety face a time when we are still able to experience and decrease muscle tension. music but can no longer choose it for ourselves.” Hence, the opportunity to create a musical will. “A musical will?” you ask. Why, yes. A personalized playlist for the end of life. Music can also provide benefits at the end of life. Our music practitioners will play for our patients when death is eminent – creating a transcendent peace as one slips from this world. Our music Music is one of our oldest forms of communication. practitioners are amazing – they have the ability to It overcomes differences. Henry Wadsworth adapt their live music to mirror – to change with the Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language varying rhythms of the dying process. of mankind.” Even without words, music can The music that gave our lives meaning can bring convey stories and evoke strong emotions. Music comfort at the end. So why not empower those has the capacity to touch us deeply. around us with a list of “our songs”? Even those Humans have the unique ability to reflect on our past and enjoy memories. Music can be a powerful who love us won’t know all the music we love. So, what’s on your Last Playlist? highway to transport us back to a specific moment in time. Rowland K. Robinson At Baylor Scott & White Health, we believe in the power of music in both healing and palliative care. Through our Arts in Medicine program – which is funded almost entirely by philanthropy 4 President, Baylor Health Care System Foundation [email protected]