living your best to the end

Room 217: Care Through Music

Guest blog by Bev Foster A lot of life happens in rooms and so does a lot of death. One room I will always remember is Room 217, where my mom, five siblings, and I sang around dad’s bedside as he was dying in a hospital northeast of Toronto. Whether it was the lingering words, simple melodies, or our faltering voices, what was undeniable was the calming and soothing impact of our music on dad in this sacred space. Music had been my way of connecting with dad in life, and it became my way of supporting him at poignant moments during the course of his illness. This final experience in Room 217 compelled me to ask some deeper questions. Why was music never offered to dad, live or recorded at the hospital? What did other families do while they waited and held vigil? Did they use music? Would they use music if it was designed for palliative care? Are there especially designed music resources for to accompany families in life threatening or complex care circumstances? The answers to those questions led me to create the Room 217 Foundation in 2009. Our mission is care through music. We do this in three ways: Producing research-informed, and artistically excellent music care resources targeted for specific situations and populations. These resources are ready and easy to use. Providing music care education for caregivers who want to learn how to integrate music into their regular care practice through the annual Music Care Conference, the Music Care Certificate Program, free monthly music care webinars, and workshops. Collaborating on research that optimizes or advances...