Close this search box.
OPUS Music CIC Logo in White

Comfort and Connection through Quiet Confidence

Towards the end of February, we were working our way through the hospital and we came to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Rich and patient and healthcare staff
"OPUS music are fantastic! As staff, we are so relieved when we see them walk through the unit doors. Today they came to the unit, we had a delirious patient that was hearing sound. They asked if now was a good time and we welcomed them greatly. OPUS music started playing and immediately the patient settled and relaxed back into their bed. They continued to play and calmed the patient so much that they fell into a deep and comfortable sleep ... They are so welcome and needed. They bring calm and positivity with them and help to make our jobs easier. They always manage to make the patients and family experience happier and nicer."
Healthcare Staff

Rich Kensington and I were suddenly called on by staff attending a young patient who was experiencing delirium and demonstrating distress at various sounds in the room. The situation appeared quite urgent. The staff stated that medical and nursing interventions were not working and they felt sure we should try some music. There was a sense of immediacy in the request and the staff seemed confident that music would be an effective alternative. We considered what to play / sing and how to deliver the piece.

We began purposefully and quite upbeat, with intensity to match the young person’s tempo and distress. After a few lines of the song, the young person connected with the music and a few changes were observed. Their own vocal noises lessened, movements became smaller, and they paused every now and again to listen. Rich moved the piece to a slower and more gentle tempo, but still with a strong vocal connection. Through this time we noted our own heartbeats racing, as a result of the intensity of the situation, and we realised we needed to bring our own internal energy levels down to assist the young patient.

We brought the pace right down singing a well-known lullaby song and keeping the vocal tone strong, open and connected. We reflected afterwards that this strength and consistency of voice may provide a focus for someone struggling through their own delirium to hang on to for a comfort and a way out.

Through the development of our practice over the years, we have constantly reflected upon the importance of being able to deliver strong, confident, quiet playing in hospital settings – to be able to match the volume of the environment suitably, but to sound positive in doing so. This situation reaffirmed that learning and caused us to really consider the impact of warm and present vocal tones and open-hearted singing in such a sensitive healthcare environment.

Eventually the young person relaxed so far, that their parent could allow their previous restraint to become a soothing embrace, and they finally fell into a deep sleep. We moved a little further away from this person’s bed area and playing our last gentle piece for the whole room to relax and gain a calmer inner state again.

This proved a powerful experience for the musicians too and one which has stayed with us both.

"This service is absolutely invaluable. Today they arrived and immediately calmed an incredibly delirious patient. It was exactly what was needed ... it is invaluable to provide holistic patient care. Thank you again for today your timing was absolutely perfect. Medical and nursing interventions were not helping, but this provided an immediate effect."
Healthcare Staff