A song that lives on: Palliative care patients at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Hospital leave a lasting message for their family through music

Mar. 22, 2012

Music therapy intervention is designed to promote wellness, express feelings, reduce anxiety and alleviate pain, for some patients in the Palliative Care Program at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Hospital it can also be instrumental in leaving behind a living legacy.

Music therapist Jill Kennedy Tufts works with palliative care patients who want to create a “legacy”— a project that helps patients musically or lyrically express themselves at the end of their lives.

Jill  works with individual patients to create a recording specific to their needs whether it’s a letter read out loud, a song (Jill will accompany them on her guitar or sing the song for them), or a performance of a preexisting song with the lyrics changed to convey a personal message.

This digital recording (which is burned on to a CD) allows the patient to give their family a legacy gift that is meaningful and uniquely theirs. And for those with young children, it’s the gift of being able to capture their voice eternally.

“Creating a legacy is empowering for the patient,” says Jill. “Through the emotional support that we provide they are able to have their last words made into something that means so much to their family.”


Jill Kennedy Tufts is a music therapist at St. Joseph’s, Parkwood Hospital in the Palliative Care Program. During Music Therapy Week, Jill will be available to speak on the topic of the living legacy project, as well as to discuss the importance of music therapy in palliative care.

To arrange an interview with Jill or to obtain a visual, please contact:
Laura Janecka, Communication Assistant
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Phone: 519 646-6100 ext. 64646
Email: laura.janecka@sjhc.london.on.ca

St. Joseph’s Health Care London is an accredited teaching hospital owned by the St. Joseph’s Health Care Society and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors from the community.  St. Joseph’s Health Care London includes:  St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Regional Mental Health Care, London and St. Thomas, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and a host of programs and services throughout Southwestern Ontario.

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