by Bev Foster

Recently, Room 217 sent a stewardship report to its supporters acknowledging the work that has been accomplished in this last calendar year and thanking them for their partnership.

Here are some of the highlights.

  • The R2R program has delivered Room 217 music care resources into 84 hospice and palliative care programs across the country. We know this music is providing soothing comfort for many families. One of the many poignant anecdotes from R2R came from a caregiver who used Spirit Wings.

Spirit Wings was played while staff sat with a client overnight – she was soothed by the music and died while Footprints was being recited. All of the staff members who experienced this individually spoke to me afterwards and explained how powerful this experience was. As the resident was dying, they encouraged her to “let go” and they guided her to focus on the songs that were very meaningful to her. The music brought some ease and comfort to a very difficult night.

  • Pathways, a singing program for dementia care, which consists of 13 video episodes, companion activities and caregiver training, is well on its way!  We are currently in the post-production phase and will be piloting the program this Spring. We are thrilled that the Ontario Trillium Foundation recognized the importance of music in dementia care for families in Ontario, and awarded the Room 217 Foundation a $60,000 grant towards the production of the videos.

  • Room 217 held two Music Care Conferences in the Fall. One hospice volunteer wrote:

As someone who has no musical background, can’t play an instrument and certainly can’t carry a tune, I wasn’t sure if I would get much out of a day that I thought might have a lot to do with the more technical aspects of music. Well, I laughed and I cried and I SANG! I was so amazed by all the presenters, what they were doing using music and song, and the love expressed for their fellow man. Our ride home for my two fellow hospice volunteers and myself, was filled with ideas of how to incorporate some of the numerous ideas we had picked up. We felt there were endless possibilities and were greatly inspired to expand our music care program at our Hospice.

  • The Music Care Certificate Training Program has extended music care into 75 new Ontario contexts. We are thrilled with the uptake of this much needed program for people who want to increase their confidence in using music in care by improving their music care skills and learning music care strategies. We look forward to expanding this program across the country.
  • Music Care Webinars are offered for free each month, and the calibre of presentation is outstanding. Participants come from all over Canada.
  • Room 217’s Music Care Research program is now underway with two research projects: Optimizing Music at Bridgepoint Health Centre in Toronto, a collaborative project with the Bridgepoint Research Group as well as Music Care in Canadian Long Term Care, my own MA research in affiliation with the University of Toronto.
  • More than 50 new donors have joined the family this year. And we thank them for their tangible and generous support.