The music therapy program at Jewish Senior Life now has two certified neurologic music therapists (NMTs) on staff.
The NMTs, Melody Boyd and Kristina Jewell, use an evidence-based treatment model consisting of 20 researched and standardized techniques for sensorimotor training, speech, language and cognitive training, and focus on the neuroscience of music to treat the brain and brain connectors in those with injury or disease of the nervous system.
“The NMTs provide groups on the neurobehavioral unit and memory care unit as well as one of them providing individual visits throughout campus,” said Meghan Bevins, director of recreation therapy at Jewish Senior Life. “For example, one might partner with a physical therapist to decrease freezing episodes of a resident with Parkinson’s in order to optimize his safety and independence. In a group setting, both NMTs address individual and group needs through structured music exercises that stimulate cognitive function, access of memory, and movement, while allowing for socialization at each patient’s level of engagement.”
According to Bevins, there are only 7,000 board certified music therapists in the United States. “We are happy to have this service available to our residents.”
Populations served by NMTs include stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, and those dealing with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other neurological conditions that affect communication, movement and cognition.
The special designation requires a four-year degree combined with extensive training, continuing education, and an exam that must be taken every three years to ensure they are up-to-date on current research and intervention changes.