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Areas without hospitals are called hospital deserts. These gaps are largest in western states. A CNN (Cable News Network) analysis found that people living in 16% of mainland U.S. are 30 miles or more from the nearest hospital.

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The rate of accidental deaths, adjusted for age, was 50% higher in rural versus urban areas from 1999 to 2015, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says distance to emergency rooms was a key factor in the deaths.


The problem of growing hospital deserts is exacerbated as rural hospitals struggle to stay open. Since 2010, 81 U.S. rural hospitals have closed, according to a rural health research program at the University of North Carolina. Another 673 rural hospitals are at risk.- Accessed 1/17/2018



Nationwide, there are 7,500 board-certified music therapists. "While music therapy has not been proven to extend life, studies show it can improve quality of life, inspire feelings of peace, spirituality and hope, and reduce pain." Ten percent of music therapists work with hospice care patients. Therapists help "patients sing to their children, record the children's songs, and help parents write and record lullabies. When we talk about end-of-life work, we are talking about loss. But music is an inherently creative process.... We oppose this feeling of loss with a feeling of creation. We create new experiences, even in the last moments of someone's life,'" states Kristen O'Grady, a New York music therapist.


Russsell Hilliard, founder of the Center for Music Therapy in End of Life Care in Finksburg, MD, has published research showing that music therapists were often the only professionals consistently treating emotional, spiritual, cognitive, social, and physical needs of patients.


When music therapist Kelly visited a Jamaican infirmary, she saw one woman so frail her bones were visible beneath her skin. When Kelly strummed a guitar at the woman's bedside, the woman sat up in bed, lifted her arms and began to move rhythmically. Kelly writes, "It was as though the light went off for her, and then playing the music turned the light back on. For me, that is how I see my work. Just turning the light on for people."-New York Times, January 16, 2018, A19. (See "Integrative Music Therapy: A Healing Intervention" in this issue of JCN.)



"Sometimes in deep depression, in the midst of the darkest shadows, Christ appears and seems sweeter than he ever was before. When all the created streams have run dry, then the everlasting fountain bubbles up with a pure and cooling stream. Remember those occasions and the circumstances that made them cheerful, and say, 'This God, even the God of Bethel, is still my God.' If I am in trouble, if I am lonely, if I am brought so low that literally I have nothing but a doorstep for my pillow, if I should lose house, home, and friends and be left like an orphan with no one to shelter me, oh God of Bethel, you who cover my head and protect my spirit, you will still be with me."


"The God of Bethel is a God who concerns himself with the things of earth. He is not a God who shuts himself up in heaven; he is a God who has a ladder between heaven and the earth (Genesis 28:12). 'In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; he heard my voice from his temple, and my cry came before him, even to his ears' (Psalm 18:6). God numbers our wanderings. He puts our tears in his bottle (Psalm 56:8)."


"'Seeing that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need' (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV.)"-From Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul by C. H. Spurgeon, Roy H. Clarke, editor, 1999, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee.


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker