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-December 2021)

  • 136 children with congenital heart diseases or suffering from cardiovascular diseases, aged 19 days-18 years, primarily coming from Africa and participating to the program “Voyage vers la vie”, led by Fondation Terre des hommes;
  • 184 children (aged 5 days-19 years) in long-term care at HUG, and suffering from serious and degenerative pathologies;
  • 4 premature babies (26 weeks), in the neonatal ward at HUG;
  • 41 adults (39 parents, 2 grandfathers).

Between April 2019 and December 2021, the support from Alta Mane allowed the launch of the music therapy project pilot phase in the pediatric intensive care and the general pediatric (B1 and B2) wards, and subsequently the extension of the music therapy interventions to the pediatric surgery, neonatal, oncology and orthopaedic wards of the HUG in Geneva.
During the period April 2019-May 2020 (12 months) and November 2020-December 2021 (14 months), 1’077 effective music-therapy sessions (for a total of 837.5 hours) tailored to the needs, abilities and socio-cultural specificity of the young patients, have taken place and reached 184 children in long-term care at HUG and suffering from degenerative pathologies, 4 premature babies in the neonatal ward, and 136 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.
In 2022, the objective is to continue and consolidate the music therapy interventions inside the intensive care, general pediatric (Médecine B1-B2) and pediatric surgery wards of the HUG, and to extend them, upon specific request, to the oncology, neonatal and orthopaedic wards, thus ensuring continuity of care to young patients who, during their long-term hospitalization, move from one ward to another, depending on the evolution of the illness and/or recovery.