Message from Kyle Shaen

Published Monday, January 27, 2020

Message from Kyle Shaen

Kyle Shaen, Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation

Music heals. It’s an expression I’m sure you’ve heard many times. But have you ever heard of a guitar being used as medical equipment?

Every week, a spiritual care worker and a therapeutic recreationalist run the Musical Expression program for patients in Adult Mental Health Services. Currently, the session involves listening to a song on a smartphone and discussing it with the group. It’s proven to be a powerful way to bring everyone together and makes it easier to discuss difficult emotions.

As valuable as this program is, staff realized that letting patients make their own music would be even more beneficial. However, funding for instruments was an issue.

...or at least it would have been if it wasn’t for the Volunteer Association and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation Family CARE Grant. CARE, which stands for “Care Advancements Recommended by Employees”, is a way to encourage front-line staff at the Hospital to identify patient care improvements, then supplies staff with funding to put those improvements into practice.

Thanks to this CARE Grant, the Adult Mental Services program can now buy a range of musical instruments including a guitar and a set of bongo drums. The therapeutic benefits will be amazing. I’m told it will be especially helpful for those who may not like participating in other group sessions, giving staff another way to connect with patients.

The Volunteer Association and the Foundation each contribute $30,000 every year to fund many small projects like this that have a huge impact on patient-centred care. What I love about the Family CARE Grants program is that staff and donors work hand in hand, launching projects that might not get funding otherwise. More and more donors have seen the value in these “micro-projects” and have directed some or all of their donations specifically to the CARE Grant program.

I encourage you to do the same! Your donation to the Family CARE Grant program will ensure we can keep funding innovative projects such as this Musical Expression program for Adult Mental Health Services. You can donate online at or call our Donation Centre at (807) 345-4673.

Thank you – and stay warm!

Kyle Shaen


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