Scientists have brought forth a new mobile tool to deliver music therapy, and help pediatric patients cope with the fear, isolation and pain associated with being in the hospital.
Making an announcement in this regard, Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA described the Music Rx unit as a high-tech, interactive studio on wheels that includes everything necessary for music therapy, both in group settings and one-on-one.
The experts said that the device holds a variety of instruments, including drums, keyboards and guitars, as well as Apple GarageBand software for recording music, a custom-built iPod docking station with 10 iPods to loan, and a large LCD screen that plays hundreds of music videos.
The cart was officially unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Mattel Children's Hospital on Wednesday.
The Music Rx cart was donated to UCLA's Child Life/Child Development Services department by the Children's Cancer Association (CCA), with support from the Starlight Children's Foundation.
UCLA is one of first hospitals to participate in the CCA's nationwide expansion of the Music Rx program, which began in Portland, Ore.
"We are proud to join hands with our friends at Mattel Children's Hospital and Starlight to bring the healing power of music to thousands of hospitalized children in California. The staff have been incredible partners throughout this project, and I have no doubt they will change lives through the Music Rx Program," said Mary Turina, president and CEO of the CCA
UCLA's board-certified music therapist Vanya Green, who is also a musician and songwriter, will incorporate Music Rx in her work with children.
"The Music Rx cart is very versatile and has really streamlined everything I need to help our patients benefit from music therapy. When the kids, nurses and staff see the interactive music video screen and hear the instruments, the mood is lightened and they get really excited!" Green said
In the hospital setting, music therapy can be used to help alleviate pain, improve a patient's mood, stimulate movement and communication, calm anxieties and fears, promote relaxation, and make the hospital feel more like home.
The patient does not need any musical experience or ability to participate in music therapy.
A previous study has already shown in 2008 that Music Rx positively affects a child's mood, family bonding and pain scores.
A second component of the Music Rx program features a live music element, with professional harpists, cellists, flautists and other community musicians playing soothing music in the pediatric hallways.
Further expanding on the music therapy program at UCLA, experts are developing a recording studio where patients can compose and record their own music using industry-standard software.