Stand by me: Honouring the courage and dedication of all caregivers in the time of coronavirus

Today (April 30), it’s the International Day of Jazz. We’re delighted to share with you a special recording from ‘The Palliators’, a band of Dutch people working professionally in palliative care as caregivers and researchers, and a volunteer.

Carlo Leget, Professor of Care Ethics at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and a member of the band, explains.

“Jazz has the power to make men forget their differences and come together… Jazz is the personification of transforming overwhelmingly negative circumstances into freedom, friendship, hope, and dignity.”  Quincy Jones at the First International Jazz Day in 2012 at the United Nations. 


The Palliators (Yvette van der Linden, Jeroen Hasselaar, Jet van Esch, Jan Kees van Duin, Rik Stoevelaar, Carlo Leget, Mary Verhoef and Marjon Oolbekkink) are a group of seven palliative care professionals and one ‘volunteer’ from all over the Netherlands. With a female nursing home physician on drums, a young and promising psychologist on lead guitar and a radiation oncologist as diva and lead singer, our repertoire consists of songs with a palliative twist. Like everyone else, a few weeks ago The Palliators were suddenly put on hold. Some of us were working with corona patients on a daily basis, others had to reorganise their teaching to an online format, and every one of us felt that a great source of joy had suddenly been taken away from us. It is a great privilege to be part of a band that combines a professional drive in palliative care with playing great music in an atmosphere of friendship and fun. But suddenly there was other work to do, our rehearsal studio closed down and all our concerts were cancelled.

Believing in the great power and consolidation of music, we decided to transform this situation of isolation into one of connection. And what song could better express the essence of palliative care and honour the courage and dedication of all caregivers than Ben E King’s classic song, ‘Stand by me’? During the weekend before Easter, we all filmed ourselves singing or playing our part in our separate homes, while listening to the original version of the song. We sent our videos to Sebastiaan, the son of our violinist Marjon, and a few days later this young man had made an amazing video.

The Palliators, left to right: Yvette van der Linden, Jeroen Hasselaar, Jet van Esch, Jan Kees van Duin, Rik Stoevelaar, Carlo Leget, Mary Verhoef, Marjon Oolbekkink.

Stand by me‘ is dedicated to all the people who are caring for other people in times of corona. It shows how we can be united and connected in times of separation and isolation. “Take care of each other” is the message in Dutch we put at the end of the video. The Palliators have great respect for everyone who is caring for the most vulnerable in our societies. We are there to honour and support you in hard times like these. We hope we can sing and play for you again in better times – like the 17th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care next year in Helsinki.

Links and resources

  • Coronavirus and the palliative care response: EAPC web page to source and share information, with links to publications and resources including World Health Organization resources, national guidelines, videos, scientific journal collections. Please email us if you have new or updated resources to share.

Read more posts about Coronavirus and the Palliative Care Response on the EAPC blog. Tomorrow, the executive committee of the EAPC Primary Care Reference Group  share latest resources and explain that now’s the time for the experiences and skills of palliative care enthusiasts to come to the fore…

This entry was posted in Coronavirus and palliative care, PATIENT & FAMILY CARE, The Arts in palliative care and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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