Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp 859–866 | Cite as

The clinical effects of music therapy in palliative medicine

  • Lisa M. Gallagher
  • Ruth Lagman
  • Declan Walsh
  • Mellar P. Davis
  • Susan B. LeGrand
Original Article

Abstract

Goal

This study was to objectively assess the effect of music therapy on patients with advanced disease.

Patients and methods

Two hundred patients with chronic and/or advanced illnesses were prospectively evaluated. The effects of music therapy on these patients are reported. Visual analog scales, the Happy/Sad Faces Assessment Tool, and a behavior scale recorded pre- and post-music therapy scores on standardized data collection forms. A computerized database was used to collect and analyze the data.

Results

Utilizing the Wilcoxon signed rank test and a paired t test, music therapy improved anxiety, body movement, facial expression, mood, pain, shortness of breath, and verbalizations. Sessions with family members were also evaluated, and music therapy improved families’ facial expressions, mood, and verbalizations. All improvements were statistically significant (P<0.001). Most patients and families had a positive subjective and objective response to music therapy. Objective data were obtained for a large number of patients with advanced disease.

Conclusions

This is a significant addition to the quantitative literature on music therapy in this unique patient population. Our results suggest that music therapy is invaluable in palliative medicine.

Keywords

Music therapy Palliative medicine Cancer Symptoms 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa M. Gallagher
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ruth Lagman
    • 1
  • Declan Walsh
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mellar P. Davis
    • 1
  • Susan B. LeGrand
    • 1
  1. 1.The Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine (A World Health Organization Demonstration Project), Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer CenterCleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA
  2. 2.The Cleveland Music School SettlementClevelandUSA
  3. 3.The Harry R. Horvitz Chair in Palliative MedicineCleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA

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