Getting to the harp of the matter

A project in which harpists perform on hospital wards and offer lessons to staff is music to the ears of patients

HARPIST AND singer Madeleine Doherty has the air of a wandering minstrel as she makes her way through the corridors of the Mater Hospital in Dublin, responding to patients’ requests to play her harp and sing a favourite song.

The hospital is one of the first in Ireland to introduce the harp to patients as part of a live music programme.

“Music has such a central role in relaxation, the reduction of anxiety and the promotion of emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The patients love it,” says Ruth Bradley, the health promotion officer at the Mater Hospital.

“The harp music creates a calm and peaceful environment on a busy medical ward while the work still goes on. It’s good for the staff too. They like the atmosphere the music creates. They can listen to it while they work. It’s not at all intrusive.”

Lynn Fox, the ward manager on St John’s ward, says there has been very positive feedback on the initiative. “Sometimes patients have been told some bad news and it’s very important to cheer them up. It also offers them a break in the day and slows the pace down a bit on busy wards.”

(Times) >>>


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