Victoria Nursing and Rehab Center taps to new music therapy system

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

May 9, 2010 at 12:09 a.m.

An elderly woman in her wheelchair shakily clapped her hands to an oldies song. The music pumped throughout the commons area at Victoria Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Friday.

The atmosphere is different, more relaxing and therapeutic now that Coro Health, an emerging state provider of therapeutic media solutions, launched the MusicFirst System.

The system's program is designed to relax and stimulate residents, said Brian Anderson, president of Coro Health.

"We're trying to first and foremost improve the quality of life of the residents," he said. "Then, secondarily but just as important, there is obviously the therapeutic benefits of music therapy."

The center is the first in Victoria, and one of only six in the state, to use the music therapy system, which several studies show can reduce incidence levels, anxiety and even medications, Anderson said.

For Elizabeth Vess, a resident at the facility, the music system makes the center feel like home, she said. She sat in her room, which is covered wall-to-wall with pictures.

Speakers are in each room.

"I think it's very enhancing to the day," Vess said.

The commons areas and outdoor garden also have speakers.

The program is password protected so only some staff and Anderson can modify the media that is played.

Staff can also control what media is played, based on each person's interest, and in which rooms and at what times.

The music is a nice accompaniment to reading a book or looking through the many pictures Vess has of center activities she participated in, she said.

"It's like the finale," she said, laughing.

Larry Carter, the activities director of the facility, said he enjoys using the media to his advantage.

"It's wonderful for me," he said. "We spend time one-on-one."

Carter can select to have audio short stories played in the activities room.

In the short time the program has been used, Maritia Barham, administrator of the center, has already seen it prove effective.

"It takes them back to a period when they were growing up," she said.

Vess agrees.

"The most important things in a home like this is the food, the medicines and, now, the music," she said. "That is just terrific."



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