The project in summary

Music-therapy sessions for children with congenital heart diseases and chronically ill hospitalized at the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG).

The project in detail

The project aims at introducing music-therapy, as a complementary practice to the traditional, interdisciplinary therapeutic treatments, in the pediatric intensive care unit of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) so as to reduce, through the creative and non-verbal mediation of music, the pains and fears of the young patients who, since their hospitalization, are plunged into a reality where the mechanical dynamics of reanimation, respiratory assistance and constant medical care treatments replace the emotions, the feelings and life itself. Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Humanize the hospital experience and allow young patients to build a space of autonomy and freedom, from where recover their identity;
  • Reactivate their creative skills and allow them to start a Post-Traumatic Resilience Process;
  • Improve the medical work environment, and reduce the stress of doctors, paramedics and nurses;
  • Transform music-therapy into a complementary therapy to the traditional interdisciplinary medical treatments and make it sustainable inside the Unité des soins intensifs pédiatriques des HUG.

Effective beneficiaries (April 2019-January 2021)

  • 84 children with congenital heart diseases or suffering from cardiovascular diseases, ages 11 months-16 years, primarily coming from Africa and participating to the program “Voyage vers la vie”, led by Fondation Terre des hommes;
  • 71 children (aged 26 weeks-16 years) in long-term care at HUG, and suffering from serious and degenerative pathologies;
  • 1 premature baby (26 weeks), in the neonatal ward at HUG.

Between April 2019 and January 2021, the support from Alta Mane allowed the launch of the music therapy project pilot phase in the pediatric intensive care, the general pediatric (B1 and B2), the pediatric surgery and neonatal wards of the HUG in Geneva. During the period April 2019-May 2020 (12 months) and the period November 2020-January 2021 (3 months), 575 effective music-therapy sessions (for a total of 568 hours) tailored to the needs, abilities and socio-cultural specificity of the young patients, have taken place and reached 71 children in long-term care at HUG and suffering from degenerative pathologies, 1 premature baby in the neonatal ward, and 84 children with congenital heart diseases or suffering from cardiovascular illnesses participating to the program “Voyage vers la vie” led by Fondation Terre des hommes. In parallel, several interdisciplinary meetings (1 hour per week) took place intended to the medical and nursing staff. These meetings allowed the music-therapist to adapt his sessions to the evolution of the clinical picture of the young patients as well as permitted the medical staff to adjust the medical care to the variations of stress and anxiety levels of the patients themselves.