Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) announces the addition of Nicholas DeFeo, Board-Certified Music Therapist to the Pediatric Palliative Care program.

As the leading Pediatric Palliative Care provider in the Upper Valley and Connecticut River Valley region, VNH offers specialized support for children and their families living with life-threatening illness. The focus is to provide relief from symptoms, pain, and stress to improve the child’s quality of life.

Music therapy can ease the emotional pain of facing a life-limiting illness. Nicholas works to create a personal musical therapy plan for each patient. Each plan has personal goals and music activities to support the patient. A session with Nicholas may involve singing and playing instruments to creating songs together.

With music, Nicholas is able to reach patients at different stages of illness, growth, and different backgrounds. Music can promote relaxation and provide distraction and relief from pain for patients. Also, music can be a source of connection and improve communication between children and their families. At VNH, we support the family to have meaningful experiences together with the time they have.

“My daughter Riley really enjoys it,” said Jamie, a grateful parent, when describing her experience with VNH’s Music Therapy program. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, their sessions with Nicholas have been virtual. “I was worried she might not engage, as she doesn’t usually sit and look at a screen for very long, but when I tell her we are going to listen to Nicholas she gets really excited and pays attention.”

Nicholas has been playing music his whole life and it has remained his main hobby and passion. When asked what the best part of his job was, he stated “Working with the patients and families.” Nicholas went on to describe how much can happen during a 30-minute session of music. “So many different moods and reactions and seeing the effect that music has on the patient and family. Being able to be part of creating that space is amazing.”