Room 217 Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question you would like to ask us about Room 217 please feel free to send it in, we may choose to post your question on our website. Contact Us
- Who is the target audience of Room 217?
Each album is targeted to a specific demographic which determines the song selection. Spirit Wings, Gentle Waters, Celtic Whisperings were created for 70 - 80 year olds. Hugs & Kisses is especially for children. Warm Breezes is aimed at the boomer generation and Classic Comfort is intergenerational. While we intentionally target, we have found that Room 217 hits the mark for people of all ages from children, to middle aged adults to seniors. The range of songs and the soothing production style transcends cultures and generations.
- What kind of situations is Room 217 appropriate for?
While Room 217 was created to bring comfort to the dying and their families, Room 217 continues to expand its applications. Room 217 is used with Alzheimer’s patients. The familiar music is an excellent means of meaningful interaction and the soothing pace helps with sundowning. Room 217 is used for relaxation in therapeutic touch and massage therapy. It calms young children and promotes sleep. Room 217 is used in daycare settings. It brings soothing relief and helps to destress caregivers. Room 217 is used for contemplation and meditation. It is a supportive resource and brings refreshment to nurses and front line health workers. It assists in supporting the bereaved. Room 217 is used by front line health care workers like recreation therapists, music therapists, nurses to assist in supportive care. It is used as background music in funeral homes, surgery, recovery rooms, and chemotherapy rooms. Room 217 is also used for Pilates and Yoga instruction. Libraries keep it on loan. Room 217 is used in care baskets or in memoriam gifts. The possibilities for Room 217 applications are endless and the needs real.
- How do you know that Room 217 is appropriate music?
Music selection for the Room 217 library is based on surveys and focus groups. We have field tested Spirit Wings and Hugs & Kisses in a number of different organizations and with people from different walks of life. The feedback to-date has been extremely positive. While we recognize that Room 217 may not be for everyone, many find it comforting and relaxing. People from all walks have connected to the pace, artistry and spiritual comfort Room 217 offers. We hope to expand the Room 217 resource library and provide therapeutic music in different styles and tempi.
- Where is Room 217 being used?
In hospices, palliative care units, hospitals, cancer centres, long term care facilities, seniors residences, locked ward units, rehab centres, mental health facilities, schools, daycares, funeral homes, private homes across Canada and into the United States. We have orders from the UK, Italy, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, France, Switzerland and Romania. We hope to see the Room 217 library supporting caregivers and their loved ones all over the world.
- How do I offer music to someone who is sick or dying?
Gently. Respectfully. If you are a professional caregiver, you may ask how music has played a role in a person or family’s life as part of the assessment. Decide on which album may fit the person’s preferences, history best based on song selection, style, or on whether they prefer instrumental only. If you are a volunteer caregiver, you may connect with a person’s story and feel that the music may connect with that person. If you are a family caregiver, there may be strong connections with the music and your loved one. If you are a friend, you may wish to give Room 217 as a gift instead of flowers or a card. Here are some ways Room 217 may be offered.
- “here is something that may help you sleep”
- “I find this music very calming and soothing.”
- “this music may help distract you from the pain”
- “this music may help you connect with your loved one”
- “these songs bring back so many memories”
- Why do you see music as a complementary resource to professional caregiving and especially end of life care?
While there is increasing scientific evidence and understanding about how music can be an effective complementary treatment to medicine, there are well known historical accounts. David’s harp playing lifted King Saul’s depression. Alexander the Great was restored to sanity by the music of a lyre. Buddhist monks in the Himalayas have been singing healing chants for over 2,000 years. “Infirmary music” was an intimate expression of French monastic medicine in 11th century Cluny.
The evidence suggests that music helps with pain and symptom management. In addition to reducing pain, music as relaxation and distraction has been used during chemotherapy to bring overall relief and to reduce nausea and vomiting and reduce anxiety.
A terminal illness highlights every psychological dynamic in a person’s life. Music is used in psychotherapy as a means of access, review, expression. People may cope better with their situation and loss with music. Songwriting and improvisation are examples of musical interventions that may shift the locus of control. Music plays an integral role in the lives of teenagers and offers opportunities for improved coping skills and self-expression. In end of life care, there are many questions that arise. Popular and spiritual songs may express truths which help reinforce a person’s beliefs and help bring closure to unresolved or answers to questions. Some religious traditions sing spiritual songs, chant or intone. Music thanatologists and music therapists serve the physical emotional and spiritual needs of the dying using music.
- Why is the music on Room 217 produced so slowly?
The familiar music of Room 217 is acoustically performed and produced at a slower pace in order to bring soothing calm into a person’s life which may be stressed or agitated. Music at approximately 60 beats per minute stimulates alpha state brain wave activity which is the state of calm and relaxation. The slower tempo also allows for phrasing to be more in sync with labored breathing.
- Is Room 217 only for spiritual people?
The core values of Room 217 are about hope, beauty and gentleness. The music has been meaningful to people of different faiths. But the soothing and relaxing style of musical production has been meaningful to people who don’t profess any faith. It is true that particularly when faced with the end of life, people are seeking meaning and ask deeper questions about life, purpose and destiny. Room 217 may provide comfort in times like this.
- Where does the name Room 217 come from?
Room 217 is a room at the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital, a small rural hospital, in Uxbridge, Ontario. It was the room where my dad, David Simmonds, died in January 2002.
- What is your vision for the complete Room 217 library?
The vision of Room 217 is that every nursing station in health care institutions, hospices, long term and senior care facilities, libraries in communities and faith centres would have a set of Room 217 to be used by families going through illness or families with complex care needs. The library is comprised of a variety of music, performed acoustically, using familiar music produced in a gentle and soothing manner. In the future, I’d love to add some country music, jazz, Christmas, and more to the Room 217 library.