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HAP, Wolf Administration Launch Statewide Program to Provide Music Therapy Services to Frontline Health Care Workers

Pilot program in the southeast region will mark program’s initial phase

June 10, 2021

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) are launching one of the country’s first statewide partnerships using creative arts therapies to support the well-being and resiliency of frontline health care workers.

Many frontline health care workers who have been heavily involved in caring for COVID-19 patients have reported experiencing long-term exhaustion, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, contributing to increased burnout and retention issues for the health care sector.

“The services and therapies that will be provided through the PCA’s partnership with HAP illustrate the creative sector’s inherent ability to develop timely, relevant, and innovative solutions for a range of challenges—not just within the health care sector but for residents in cities and towns across our commonwealth,” PCA Executive Director Karl Blischke said.

Music therapy has proven to be an effective tool for health care workers experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout. It can also promote positive changes in mood and affect, increase a sense of control, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relax muscle tension, and build resiliency. This type of therapy in workplace settings has been found to promote well-being and psychological health, manage occupational stress and health risks at work, and strengthen organizational welfare.

Specific to health care, music therapy has been shown to be an effective, non-pharmacological, economical, and non-invasive means of significantly decreasing stress levels and addressing trauma.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented unforeseen and compounded challenges for the frontline health care workers who gave so selflessly to the patients they served,” said Andy Carter, president and CEO of HAP. “This innovative partnership will help us care for our caregivers in new ways, supporting their resilience and well-being through the healing power of music.”

HAP will serve as the lead facilitator in this partnership, under the guidance of Mary Marshall, HAP’s director, workforce and professional development, and Beth Murray, HAP’s readmissions project manager.

A pilot program for health care workers at health systems in the southeast region of the commonwealth will mark the initial phase of this initiative. HAP will implement subsequent programs for the western region of the commonwealth, as well as for rural/critical access hospitals.

The PA Music Therapy Task Force will support HAP’s efforts and serve as the entity to process applications. Hospitals will work with music therapy practitioners to deliver these services.

This project reflects a recommendation from HAP’s Health Care Talent Task Force to support employee wellness—an objective that has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. HAP and the Health Care Talent Task Force are committed to supporting this important work and other critical workforce initiatives across the commonwealth.

To learn more about the program, contact Mary Marshall, HAP’s director, workforce and professional development, or Beth Murray, HAP’s readmissions project manager