Jonna Goulding, MD, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Specialist
Islene Runningdeer is an artist in sound. Her experiences of ministering to the dying (and the people who love them) through music and song are beautifully rendered here in the stories of Agnus, Kathy, Winifred, Ethan, and many other memorable souls who belong to her colorful, crusty, welcoming, challenging community. This is a book for aspiring music therapists, hospice teams, caregivers, and anyone who will someday face death. Oh...that's all of us, is it? Then let us all read this work of this wise musician, an experienced caregiver herself, and let us all sing the praises of these stories of our parents, sisters, brothers, neighbors, and friends, and how they were touched by compassionate care, and music.
Kathy Panagiotes MA, MSN, RN, Professor and Program Chair, Mt. Wachusett Community College
We can explore with this book what we might want our own end to be. Islene leads us with heartfelt story and song on the intimacies of the last adventure. When we travel to places we don't know we use a guide book. Islene gives us one, the music book of stories we have stored in our hearts. From lullabies and rock and roll, to sounds of pageantry, dance tunes, and ecclesiastical soaring; she shows how the ending melts into the music of the spheres, guiding our way home.
From the Foreword by Diana Peirce, RN, CHPN, The Elizabeth Hospice, San Diego, California, Formerly Director of Hospice and Palliative Care, Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, Barre, Vermont
I am honored to add my voice to the chorus of appreciation for music as an end of life care necessity, and to Islene Runningdeer for patiently teaching me its value.
Alison Sweeney, Music TherapistIACAT (Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists) Journal
This is a book for music therapy students, practitioners and indeed health care staff working within palliative care teams who wish to discover and understand more deeply the rich therapeutic connection between music therapist and client in end of life care... As individuals approach the end of their life, many do so concerned with the need to appear okay for family and loved ones... Music helps us to access these feelings...An important chapter in this book addresses the issue of working through difficult emotions in the therapeutic relationship and provides several case examples which demonstrate how anger can be used as an alternative for deeper, more complex emotions... Whatever the needs of the person in the final stages of life, the music therapist can use music and their relationship to promote a sense of togetherness so that the client knows they do not have to leave this world alone... This is a powerful, captivating book which draws you in and urges you to think deeply about your own music therapy practice
Jane Lings, Music TherapistBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Islene Runningdeer's book is an engaging, thought-provoking, and often insightful read. In eleven chapters she describes her music therapy work in a home-based palliative care team... the key themes of the book... include relationship building, cultural sensitivity, emotional complexity, mental illness, learning disability, and self-care... this is a refreshing, inspiring, and heartfelt book of stories written by a warm, intuitive, charismatic, and skilled musician who has clearly done some exceptional work with the dying... for an insight into how music can be used in palliative care, this is well-worth reading.
Ray Travasso, Music TherapistApproaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education
Musical Encounters with the Dying: Stories and Lessons by Islene Runningdeer is one of those books which... offers the key ingredients for bringing music into palliative care settings. These include creating a therapeutic relationship, helping clients to reach final goals, and dealing with difficult emotions. It gives particular attention to supporting vulnerable groups of clients including those with disabilities and mental health issues, as well as working with relatives... The book highlights the breadth of ways in which music can support both patients and relatives in their time of need, as they face death... Runningdeer, includes many personal and insightful experiences of work with clients offering both creative and supportive ideas to consider. She highlights how her music therapy practice has developed, and how she has also developed realistic expectations of her client relationships. She discusses key qualities a therapist needs... Runningdeer's work provides some simple suggestions for the practitioner introducing music therapy to those who have little foreknowledge of it... Many examples of music therapy are given ... I deem Musical Encounters with the Dying: Stories and Lessons to be a valuable book for all music therapists, and particularly those working in palliative care... It is a very accessible and practical text... It could be a useful book within both music therapy training and on-going clinical supervision for experience therapists.