The Meaning of Care Magazine

Generous Donation Brings Music Therapy to Methodist Fremont Health Behavioral Health Unit

Published: Aug. 29, 2023

Thanks to a generous donation from the Fremont Health Foundation, the behavioral health unit at Methodist Fremont Health now offers music therapy for its patients. Shown from left: Kay Meints, Kristine Gatlin, Shawn Shanahan and Pat Callaway


Music is an art form that has been around for thousands of years. But did you know that its use as a therapy tool dates back hundreds of years, according to many music therapy experts?

Music and, more specifically, music therapy can help lower blood pressure; improve memory; enhance self-reflection, self-regulation and pain management; and even increase joy.

Thanks to the generous donation of $68,000 from the Fremont Health Foundation, patients on the behavioral health unit at Methodist Fremont Health are now reaping the benefits of music therapy – and it’s become an essential tool in the recovery process.

“We all know music calms the soul, helps with relaxation and can help boost coping skills,” said Shawn Shanahan, executive director of development and community health for Methodist Fremont Health and the Fremont Health Foundation. “We worked with the leadership team in our unit to provide a sound system and supplies so that all patients can seamlessly access music. Something as simple as a sound system can have a tremendous impact.”

The sound system allows the care team to play music in each individual patient room, as well as the group rooms within the unit. The music is played through speakers located in the ceiling. Selections can come from sources that include the radio, YouTube videos, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon Music and podcasts, offering an experience that’s tailored for a patient’s listening pleasure. 

“It’s been really nice,” said Kristine Gatlin, RN, a nurse on the behavioral health team. “Being able to play country, rock or Latin music – it’s just amazing. We can even play relaxation music or sounds to help patients sleep at night. I sleep with white noise at night, so being hospitalized and not having that would make me even more stressed and not able to sleep.”

The upgrade has also allowed staff members to focus more of their attention on patients and healing.

“This helps our staff focus on what truly matters: creating a supportive environment where patients can truly immerse themselves in the healing power of music,” said Kay Meints, MSN, RN, director of inpatient behavioral health. “The impact of this newfound freedom is immeasurable. Patients are now able to enjoy uninterrupted music therapy sessions, fostering deep relaxation, emotional release and mental rejuvenation. The positive effects extend beyond the immediate moment, as patients report improved mood, reduced anxiety and an enhanced sense of well-being.”

Staff members say they’ve seen just the tip of the iceberg of how impactful the new sound system can be, and they’re grateful for the Foundation’s generosity. 

“This means a lot to me because we’re able to provide a service that not many other hospitals have,” Gatlin said. “It improves the quality of the patient stay and improves their mental health.”

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