Harrisburg, PA — Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) Executive Director, Karl Blischke, today announced one of the country's first statewide partnerships using creative arts therapies to support well-being and resiliency among frontline healthcare workers. The initiative is a partnership of the PCA, a state agency under the Office of the Governor, and the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).
Many frontline healthcare workers who have been heavily involved in caring for COVID-19 patients have reported experiencing long-term exhaustion, depression, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can contribute to increased burnout and retention issues for the healthcare sector, and potentially diminish the quality of patient care.
"The services and therapies that will be provided through the PCA's partnership with HAP illustrate the creative sector's inherent ability to develop timely, relevant, and innovative solutions for a range of challenges—not just within the healthcare sector but for residents in cities and towns across our commonwealth," said Blischke.
Music therapy has proven to be an effective tool for healthcare workers experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout. It can also promote positive changes in mood and affect, increase a sense of control, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relax muscle tension and build resiliency. This type of therapy in workplace settings has been found to promote well-being and psychological health, manage occupational stress and health risks at work, and strengthen organizational welfare. Specific to healthcare, music therapy has been shown to be an effective, non-pharmacological, economical, and non-invasive means of significantly decreasing stress levels and addressing trauma.
"The COVID-19 pandemic presented unforeseen and compounded challenges for the frontline health care workers who gave so selflessly to the patients they served," said Andy Carter, president and CEO of HAP. "This innovative partnership will help us care for our caregivers in new ways, supporting their resilience and well-being through the healing power of music."
HAP will serve as the lead facilitator in this partnership, under the guidance of Elizabeth Murray, MHE, MCHES, CDSMP/DSMP, a registered nurse with more than 35 years of experience in clinical, community and corporate settings. A pilot program for healthcare workers at health systems in the southeast region of the commonwealth will mark the initial phase of this initiative. HAP will implement subsequent programs for the western region of the commonwealth, as well as for rural/critical access hospitals.
The PA Music Therapy Task Force will support HAP's efforts and serve as the entity to process applications. Hospitals will work with music therapy practitioners to deliver these services.
ABOUT HAP: HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 240 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at www.haponline.org.
ABOUT PCA: The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) is a state agency under the Office of the Governor. PCA's mission is to strengthen the cultural, educational and economic vitality of Pennsylvania's communities through the arts. By leveraging the immense potential of Pennsylvania's arts and cultural sector, the PCA supports jobs, builds community, inspires lifelong learning, promotes the commonwealth nationally and internationally, and sparks innovation. For more information about the PCA, visit arts.pa.gov or call 717-787-6883.
MEDIA CONTACT: Norah Johnson, PCA, 717-585-4713
Chris Daley, HAP, 717-836-2382