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East End Art's "Music By The Bedside" Program Expands To Peconic Bay Medical Center

Sydney A. Braat

Grace and Rebecca Lukachinksi use the power of their voices to relax patients at Peconic Bay Medical Center. (Courtesy Photo)

Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC) is pleased to welcome East End Art's Music by the Bedside Program, a one-on-one live music program for comfort care. This program helps patients who are in both palliative and critical care. Music by the Bedside commenced in October 2015 at Peconic Landing. Less than a year after its launch, Music by the Bedside received the 2016 Innovation of the Year Award by LeadingAge New York, in August 2016.

"We are so happy that in less than a year of initiating the program, Music by the Bedside has had such a significant impact on individuals, both residents and the music students and faculty participants involved," said Diane Giardi, Education Director at East End Arts. "This one-on-one personal sharing of music by the bedside has added so much to the quality of life near the end of life. We are pleased that the program has been recognized in this way."

The musicians in Music by the Bedside hope to foster an environment of peace and comfort through music. The goal is to enhance patients' lives through music. Patients even have the option to request songs they personally enjoy.

Volunteer musicians visit Peconic Bay Medical Center once a month for approximately one hour. The program kicked off on Friday, June 3, 2016 and featured East End Arts School students, now alumni, Rebecca and Grace Lukachinski, twin sister vocalists.

"We look forward to continuing to expand this program to different healthcare centers on the East End, and are pleased that Peconic Bay Medical Center is a participant of this expansion," remarked Giardi. "The program has proven to be an enriching experience for the receiver and the musicians themselves."

The hospital staff at Peconic Bay Medical Center is also onboard with this program.

"The introduction of East End Arts' Music by the Bedside program for our patients has been very well received," comments Donna Post, Palliative Care Nursing Coordinator at Peconic Bay Medical Center. "Music has enriched the services we can offer patients who are facing serious medical conditions." The program offers a welcome break. "Music provides a diversion from long hospital days, and the unfavorable symptoms that patients may experience. Regardless of language or physical condition, music really is universal," she noted. "It provides comfort, relaxation, and can provoke happy memories. Thank you to East End Arts for sharing the talents of musicians to enhance the lives of those who are suffering with illness." The therapeutic concerts' impact is already evident. "I want to share one story of a patient who was listening to a vocal student: the patient said to me she wished she could get up and dance, her physical condition could not provide her that wish," Post said. "I stood at the end of the bed and told her she could tap her feet against my palms. For a short period her eyes closed, she tapped her feet and was lost in her memories of long ago days. This patient has since past, but this program brought such joy to her failing body - it was a gift."

Jose is another student who participates in this "Music by the Bedside" program. (Courtesy Photo)

For volunteer musicians, Music by the Bedside is a chance to express their talents while also sharing it with others that can truly benefit. This experience is beneficial for both parties.

"My experience drumming and sounding tuning forks for a patient and her family through East End Arts Music by the Bedside program was wonderful," shares John Kowalchyk, volunteer musician. "The hospital staff noted it was the first time she saw the patient's [adult] son smiling. He really enjoyed playing the drum with me. I was lifted as I witnessed the relief the two visitors felt during our session. For that short time, they broke free from their worries and sadness. What they don't know is how much joy I felt for being with them."

East End Arts has created an inspiring video depicting the benefits of the Music by the Bedside program at Peconic Landing. To view the video, visit www.youtube.com.

East End Arts is currently accepting more volunteer musicians! If you're interested in finding out more about Music by the Bedside, contact Diane Giardi at dgiardi@eastendarts.org or call 631-369-2171.

For more information about Music by the Bedside, visit www.eastendarts.org.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

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