Health and Fitness

What are the benefits of using music therapy in hospice or palliative care settings?

Through music, music therapists assist persons facing a terminal disease in remaining connected to the life they have lived and improving their current circumstances and quality of life.

Practice area

Music therapists assist individuals of all ages and abilities in enhancing their cognitive, motor, emotional, linguistic, social, sensory, and educational domains through active and receptive music experiences. These creative activities involve improvisation, composition, performance, listening, and debate centered on music.

Music is an incredibly potent kind of art with a long and illustrious history of playing a role in numerous healing and overall wellness forms. Due to music’s ability to transcend cultural, linguistic, and societal barriers, it has the potential to improve overall wellness. For example, music is one of the therapeutic art forms used in hospice settings to improve holistic well-being in patients, families, carers, and the bereaved.

Music Therapy’s History

Music has a long history of being utilized to enhance spiritual wellness and as a therapeutic tool in healing techniques. It has been acknowledged for its restorative powers dating back to 500 B.C., during the ancient Grecians. Renowned thinkers of this age, Plato, Pythagoras, and Aristotle, recognized music’s profound effect on an individual’s total well-being. According to Plato, “music is an art endowed with the capacity to touch the soul’s very depths.

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Music therapy encompasses much more than musical activities at a nursing home or hospice institution. It is a board-certified music therapist’s clinical and evidence-based use of music intervention. First, it evaluates the patient’s abilities and needs. Develops a therapy plan, and listens to live, patient-preferred music during individual, group, and family sessions.

Because music is non-threatening, pleasurable, and promotes brain function, it can help people of all ages, backgrounds, and skills. In addition, music therapy can work in conjunction with other healing modalities to address hospice patients’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. When delivered to those nearing the end of life. While music therapy is not appropriate for every hospice patient, it can be surprisingly successful in an otherwise unresponsive patient.

Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Hospice Music Therapy?

Patients who gain the most from music therapy are those who:

  • However, there is a shortage of social connection and sensory stimulation.
  • Suffer from chronic pain and symptoms that are difficult to manage with conventional medical interventions
  • Feeling nervous or afflicted with dementia.
  • Seek a concrete coping method or define or articulate feelings or thoughts.
  • Face communication difficulties as a result of physical or intellectual disabilities
  • Spiritual assistance is required, which may involve other family members.
  • Take pleasure in music to improve their quality of life or keep their dignity.

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Integrative hospice and palliative care is a treatment paradigm that views patients as whole individuals of interconnected systems. Therefore, the interdisciplinary treatment team is asked to assess the ethical and successful provision of holistic treatments that concurrently address various systems throughout cotreatment. Nurses and music therapists are well-positioned to collaborate in providing holistic care. Because they are direct care professionals who have continuous face-to-face interaction with patients and caregivers.

This article discusses the referral, assessment, and treatment processes that nurses and music therapists can use to address family support, spirituality, mourning, and telehealth issues. Clinical vignettes are included to demonstrate how cotreatment may evolve and the possible benefits it may provide in a variety of situations. As part of this framing, music therapy is positioned as a core service in hospice rather than an alternative or complementary service that satisfies the required counseling services specified in Medicare’s Conditions of Participation for hospice providers. The systematic and intentional collaboration of nurses and music therapists has the potential to provide patients and carers with complete care that fosters good transitions during the dying process.

Is music therapy effective in enhancing the quality of life of palliative care patients?

Despite recent medical improvements, people with severe illnesses continue to experience high rates of suffering due to psycho existential issues such as loss of function, meaninglessness, and fears about death and dying. Palliative care acknowledges the ‘whole pain’ experienced by end-of-life patients and advocates for using complementary adjunct therapies to address parts of patient suffering that medical science and technology cannot handle.

Music therapy is widely utilized in palliative care and comprises music to accomplish personal goals within a therapeutic relationship with a trained music therapist. Consistent with palliative care goals, music therapy’s primary goal is to improve people’s quality of life by decreasing physical. And psychological symptoms, improving communication, and easing spiritual or existential worries.

However, there are no recommendations for music therapy in palliative care. This emphasizes the importance of a more extraordinary evidence foundation that indicates both the advantages and hazards of music therapy to determine future provision. Currently, owing to a shortage of rigorous research, the evidence regarding music therapy’s effectiveness on patient-reported outcomes is mixed. Music therapy is an allied health profession that can benefit a wide variety of persons who are ill or disabled. It uses musical engagement and creativity to address a patient’s clinical requirements – whether psychological, physical, emotional, cognitive, or social.

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The interaction between the music therapist and the client is at the heart of music therapy. The client may actively participate in music therapy alone. Or in collaboration with the music therapist, sing, or simply listen as they play. If the patient’s family is in attendance, they may participate in the music therapy session. Patients can either play to music they are familiar with or spontaneously. With the therapist assisting them with their musical abilities. Additionally, music therapy may include legacy work. In which the music therapist helps the patient write a song for their family. In music therapy, our musical tastes and song selections can expose the ‘person’ behind the terminal illness, allowing patients to reflect on happier times, enjoy the present moment, and leave a legacy for the future. As Shakespeare put it succinctly, “When language fails, music communicates.”

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