Therapeutic harp to lift spirits at Camden Palliative Care Unit

The soothing sounds of a harp have brightened the halls at Camden’s Palliative Care Unit.

A reverie harp was launched at the Camden Hospital ward this morning and has already proven a hit with patients.

The harp was created with input from a trained music therapist, who wanted an instrument which patients in palliative care could hold and play without any prior musical experience.

The harp can help people in end-of-life care to engage with life and look forward to creating beautiful sounds.

Arlene Roache, volunteer coordinator with the South-West Sydney Local Health District’s palliative care service, said the hospital’s volunteers were thrilled to introduce the harp to the unit.

“It adds another string to their bow,” she said.

“They’ve had their orientation and will receive ongoing training with the harp.

“It provides a soothing sound for the patients.”

Arlene Roache (at centre) with the volunteer team.

Arlene Roache (at centre) with the volunteer team.

The harp is light-weight, smooth and rounded, and can easily be placed on the patient’s lap or bed.

Patients can also feel the vibrations of the instrument as they’re playing, increasing their engagement with the harp.

“This harp is specially designed so anyone can play it. You don’t have to be a musician,’’ Ms Roache said.

“You can strum it, or pluck the strings. Whichever way you choose to play it, the sounds are beautiful.

“The patients can make their own music and are not passively listening. It is uplifting, the patients can forget their pain and be soothed and comforted.’’

The hospital was able to purchase the $888 harp thanks to a fundraising effort from the unit’s volunteer group.

“We are so fortunate to have such wonderful volunteers dedicated to patient care,” she said.

“They are very special people and I thank them for their help and support during the recent National Volunteers Week and every other week.’’

The introduction of the harp supports the health district’s Arts Strategic Plan 2018-2023, which is aimed at transforming the care of people with illness and disability through creativity and imagination.