Maintaining a positive mental outlook is important to recovering from illness, and one local hospital is using music to help kids in its pediatric ward.
Some say music heals the soul, and that couldn't be more evident than at the pediatric ward at Maimonides Medical Center.
It's called music therapy, and it's part of a program found in many hospitals called Child Life Services. Here, trained therapists introduce art and music as a way to help make that hospital stay less fearful and stressful.
"Our goal of Child Life Program is to really help lessen the stress of hospitalization," says Lenia Batas, the director of Child Life Services. "We offer various therapeutic and recreational programming, and our staff is trained in child development, creative arts therapies, as well as utilizing different materials to help children during their hospital stay."
Depending on the need, therapists can perform during procedures, or they can hold group events or visit individual patient rooms to offer a moment of escape, calm and self-expression.
"It's a wonderful way to express yourself," Batas says. "They can't control how many times somebody comes in and gives them a shot or some type of painful procedure, but if they take that drum and they start banging on that drum, it's just a wonderful outlet for them."
"You can see so much joy at the moment that they are engaged in the music," says Daniela Bauer-Sawicki, a music therapist and specialist with Child Life. "You can see that all of this that's around them that may be scary fall away, and they're just in the moment and having a good time."
While the therapies are technically designed for children, may find they do as much for the parents as they do for the kids.
"She lifts my spirits. I'm like a little kid with a piece of candy. I've been so happy to see her," says parent Teddieann King. "I really think I was more relaxed than he was. It did a lot for us because he looked forward for her coming, and I do, too."
King says that she and her son look forward to the different therapies each day because with the bang of a drum or the stroke of a brush, the fear and the pain subside for the moment. She says that when they get home, she plans to use art and music as a form of healing and as a reminder that everything will be alright.