Virtual Bedside Concerts: An innovative model to promote wellness through music
Keywords:Music, Music and Medicine, Telehealth, Telemedicine, COVID-19
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in widespread isolation, with hospitalized patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) bearing the physical and emotional brunt of patient loneliness. While music has well-documented therapeutic effects in reducing depression, anxiety, and stress in patients and HCWs, in-person performances were not possible during the pandemic. In response, Virtual Bedside Concerts (VBC) was created to provide interactive virtual music to patients during this time of isolation. Volunteer coordinators (VCs) work with HCWs at healthcare facilities to pair musician volunteers with interested patients. Over the first 15 months, VBC hosted 209 concerts performed by 66 volunteer musicians at 5 different healthcare facilities. Anonymous feedback surveys indicate that patients, musicians, and HCWs value the opportunity for music to complement traditional medical care and provide musical healing and a sense of community and connection. VBC has been widely successful in demonstrating how interactive virtual music may provide an unprecedented level of social. Facilitating social bonds through music has improved the rapport between HCWs and patients, supplemented traditional medical care, and brought a more humanistic experience to healthcare settings. Our framework may be used at other institutions to provide musical healing and a sense of community throughout and beyond the pandemic.