Surrey Memorial Hospital - NICU

Surrey , BC

Partially adopted by 

The NICU Music Therapy program at Surrey Memorial hospital is offered twice a week to patients and their families. The music therapist sings and provides gentle music stimulation bedside to the infant, attentively watching for signs of overstimulation. Each session is individual and parents/family are encouraged to participate.

The music therapist provides education to families on the importance and value of music to their premature infants as well as offers suggestions and ideas of ways to incorporate music into their home life to help in their child’s development.

Since January 2021 over 75 babies and families have received Music Therapy with over 250 sessions.


Surrey Memorial Hospital NICU serves a diverse population as one of only 3 Level 3 NICU’s across the province. Families may be local or transported in from other communities for medical reasons. NICU services a wide range of socio economic status, ethnicities and diverse backgrounds and lifestyles.


Premature infants and their families

Due to COVID-19 parents have been unable to have siblings, grandparents or other family members visit to offer support. A NICU stay can be traumatic and stressful and not having extra family support has been trying for most families. Music therapy sessions have been utilized to relax and calm parents, include family through virtual sessions, and record songs or stories from siblings and parents that are then played for the baby.

Adopting this program will sustain music therapy services at Surrey Memorial Hospital in 2022. This support will help serve hundreds of infants and their families as they navigate the challenges that come with premature birth and/or complications at birth.

Although clinicians and leaders within the NICU at Surrey Memorial Hospital recognize the impact of music therapy for their patients and families, there is very little public health care funding available to support music therapy on an ongoing basis. This is why Surrey Hospitals Foundation continues to actively look for donor funding for this important program.

Baby G was born at 32 weeks and was the 3rd baby to loving parents T and M.
The music therapist had several sessions with Baby G and was able to encourage mom to use music while holding her newborn. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the siblings were not able to come visit their new sister in the NICU. Mom recalled how hard it was to leave her other children at home to come to the NICU and she was feeling immense guilt over not being able to be with all her children. As a response to this, Music Therapist Erin was able to record mom’s voice singing a sweet lullaby so Baby G could hear mom’s voice even when she was not in the NICU. Erin had also empowered mom with the tools and skills to record the siblings at home singing to the new baby and added it to her original recording. Mom said it was a relief to know that Baby G was hearing all the voices of their family even when they could not be in the NICU and the siblings loved being part of the recording for their new baby sister.

Erin Parr

Erin began her career in Kamloops working as part of an interdisciplinary team at a school for kids with Autism. In 2011 she moved back to the lower mainland and began specializing in early childhood music and helping parents use music to aid their child’s development. In 2016 Erin obtained her NICU-MT certification and implemented the first NICU music therapy program at Surrey Memorial Hospital.  Erin is passionate about using music with children and helping families connect.

You can help us reach more Canadians with the healing power of music. We invite you to give the gift of music to provide hope, strength, relief and encouragement to Canadians in need.

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