Riley patients undergoing dialysis show off their skills at inaugural piano recital

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Patients at Riley Children’s Health can now experience one-on-one piano lessons while undergoing dialysis treatment.

For the last several months, nephrology patients have received personalized instruction on reading and playing music.

Nurse practitioner, Bethanne Johnston, began the program in July. She secured funding so participating patients could take their keyboards home to practice outside the hospital.

On Monday, three children from the program performed their first piano recital in the Riley Outpatient Clinic Auditorium. Each of the patients performed two songs.

“It’s fun,” said nephrology patient, Jha’Vion Shelton. “I get to do something — I don’t just have to sit in a bed for four hours.”

Riley Children’s Health volunteer, Bethany Daugherty, has been working with the kids once a week for 30 minutes during dialysis.

“Sometimes, they’ll be having a blue day or they’ll be kind of down a little bit,” said Daugherty. “Once we get started playing the piano, they really start to come out of their shell.”

Family members, doctors, nurses and volunteers were all in attendance at the piano recital.

“They’re here three days a week, four hours a session,” said Dr. Amy Wilson, nephrologist at IU Health. “To have something that’s really tangible, that they can hear their own progress with, and that actually takes them away from the medical experience has been wonderful for them.”

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