Media Release - NSLHD‚Äč
Date: Monday, 11 July 2016


It is hard to not break into dance when the patients of Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre are joyfully hitting the high notes each Thursday at choir therapy.

In addition to intensive inpatient rehabilitation, patients at Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre at Ryde Hospital are singing for their health.

Clinical Neuropsychologist, Dr Helen Pechlivanidis, and Speech Pathologist, Alyssa Gearin, are jointly running the popular voluntary weekly session to provide patients with a fun activity that has positive outcomes.

The trial began two months ago, and of the small number surveyed so far, 100 per cent of respondents said they felt "happy" after the choir, enjoyed the choir, felt the choir helped to improve their mood, and would recommend the choir to other patients.

Dr Pechlivanidis and Ms Gearin said the benefits of the choir for patients include:

  • Socialisation; patients come out of their rooms and interact with others

  • Communication; patients practice skills in communication

  •  Cognition; patients practice skills in attention, memory and processing

  • Mood; patients feel generally happier, included and less isolated during choir.

"We get great participation from the patients," Dr Pechlivanidis said.

Ms Gearin added that families and friends also join the choir, as well as the wider multidisciplinary team.

 "On some days, the whole room is full and you can hear the singing at the other end of the ward. It's up lifting," said Ms Gearin.

"Many patients are here for extended periods and the opportunity to do something different like choir offers enjoyment with health benefits."

The choir was introduced at Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre to fill a void in what had become a lull in activity for the patients, as the multidisciplinary team held their weekly case reviews.

"Most patients would simply go to their room at this time each week, and we wanted to break the cycle of isolation and improve their overall physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing," said Dr Pechlivanidis.

"Music has a wonderful way of inspiring confidence in people. Some of our patients who are reluctant to attend initially and only want to watch in the back row, end up feeling confident enough to be singing the loudest by the end of the session" said Ms Gearin.

One patient said that it made him "feel complete", while another said that he feels "music is one of the greatest healing activities that exists".

There is research to support the use of singing as a therapeutic tool. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood and socialisation, memory, communication as well as having physical benefits.

These benefits combine with the advantage of bringing people together to sing in a social, yet safe environment.

Media inquiries: Melissa Chain 9463 1748 or 0413 025 742


View as pdf