Everyday Heroes

Hospice Grants Patient Her Unique Musical Wish

She asked for something that most of the hospice staff had never heard of before.

I've found that no matter what life throws at me, music softens the blow." - Bryce Anderson, author

Those who work in hospice are tasked with bringing comfort to people in the twilight of their lives. Sometimes that simply means sitting by the person's bedside or holding their hand. Caregivers at Ohio's Hospice of Miami County recently took their job one step further in their quest to find an unusual instrument for a patient.

Lenetia Shoemaker is a hospice patient and when she asked for her old omnichord, hospice workers sprung into action. An omnicord is an electronic instrument with sounds that can include the harp, organ, or even banjo. Not wanting to disappoint, hospice workers reached out to her family and to several musicians to see if they could find an omnichord. With a little bit of luck on their side, the family was able to find Shoemaker's own omnichord (though at least one musician also reached out and offered to let her borrow his).

Lenetia Shoemaker and her omnichord.

Shoemaker was overjoyed when she saw the instrument and immediately began playing chords and rediscovering some old hymns. "This is music therapy in action!" said Jessica Hoying, Shoemaker's music therapist, according to Piqua Daily Call. "Music therapy is such a great resource for our patients. Whether it facilitates social interactions like this or encourages relaxation, music therapy has so many purposes."

By the way, if you're interested in hearing exactly what an omnichord sounds like, YouTuber Sam Swanson has a clip of him playing one here:

My Omnichord www.youtube.com

As you can see, it's not the most intuitive instrument, but it brought joy to Shoemaker as she was able to navigate her way around it like she used to.

"We help our patients find joy and peace during life's final months," said Jenny Weber, a volunteer coordinator who worked with others staff+ to grant Shoemaker's wish. "Our mission is to celebrate the lives of those we have the privilege of serving by providing superior care and superior services to each patient and family."

How can you start something good?

Everyone deserves some comfort during their final days in life. Volunteering at hospice can mean the world to patients and family members alike. If you would like to help the hospice featured in this story, you can donate to them by clicking here.

To find a hospice near you click here to search by your zip code. Contact them directly to find out whether they need volunteers, or any last wishes granted that you can help fulfill.

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