Music as a Form of Therapy for COVID-19 Patients

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CLEVELAND — University Hospitals is using music therapy to help COVID-19 patients in isolation not only heal, but feel like they’re connected.


What You Need To Know

  • University Hospitals is using music therapy to help COVID-19 patients
  • Music therapy includes many things including singing
  • UH has found a way to connect patients with a therapist real time using an iPad on a moving cart

Through an iPad stand and a Bluetooth speaker, patients may connect virtually with a music therapist.

There are many reported health benefits to these sessions, including decreased feelings of stress and anxiety.

Angel Foss is the lead music therapist at UH Samaritan Medical Center in Ashland and sees her COVID-19 patients through the iPad setup. 

“A lot of times that includes singing, and we encourage everyone to sing along,” said Foss. “If we do a music-assisted relaxation and imagery, all the participant does is close their eyes and follow the guided meditation and we provide live music for that  so it can be more individualized in that way.”

Reggie Cureton was hospitalized for a week due to COVID-19. On top of fighting a double-lung infection, he also was battling the feelings of isolation that come when you are hospitalized for COVID-19.

“I could only see my wife from the third floor waving from outside of the window,” Cureton said. “That’s what you have to deal with when you are isolated in the hospital with COVID.”

Cureton said he has always loved singing, so when he was told he qualified for the music therapy program he hopped on the opportunity to join.

“[Music] has power in it, and I think sometimes we may take it for granted.” Cureton said. “We just don’t realize how it can really and truly can make a change in someone’s mood.” 

Together, Foss and Cureton would belt out tunes so loudly that the nurses in the hallways could hear the melodies. 

 Cureton said while he was singing he wasn’t even thinking about the pain in his lungs. 

 “They have you do exercises they have you breathe and expand your lungs,” Cureton explained. “I believe that singing was a part of the exercise to help get that oxygen in your body.”

Cureton is now out of the hospital and said he is feeling a lot better. He believes the music therapy sessions helped him recover from COVID-19.

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