The clinical effects of music therapy in palliative medicine
- 2.5k Downloads
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.
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.
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.
KeywordsMusic therapy Palliative medicine Cancer Symptoms
We gratefully acknowledge the support of The Kulas Foundation and The Music Therapy Program Fund. We thank Lisa Rybicki, MS, for performing the statistical analysis and Becky Michel and Lisa McKelvey, music therapy interns, for their contributions to the sessions.
- 1.Bailey LM (1983) The effects of live music versus tape-recorded music on hospitalized cancer patients. Music Ther 3:17–28Google Scholar
- 2.Bailey LM (1984) The use of songs in music therapy with cancer patients and their families. Music Ther 4:5–17Google Scholar
- 4.Curtis SL (1986) The effect of music on pain relief and relaxation of the terminally ill. J Music Ther 23:10–24Google Scholar
- 15.O’Callaghan CC (1995) Songs written by palliative care patients in music therapy. In: Lee CA (ed) Lonely waters. Sobell Publications, Oxford, pp 31–40Google Scholar
- 17.O’Callaghan CC (1999) Lyrical themes in songs written by palliative care patients. In: Aldridge D (ed) Music therapy in palliative care: new voices. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, pp 43–58Google Scholar
- 21.Robertson-Gillam K (1995) The role of music therapy in meeting the spiritual needs of the dying person. In: Lee CA (ed) Lonely waters. Sobell Publications, Oxford, pp 85–98Google Scholar
- 22.Rogers A (1981) In: Third world congress on pain of the international association for the study of pain, Edinburgh, Scotland, September 4–11, 1981, Abstracts. Pain, suppl 1, pp S1–S319Google Scholar
- 24.Salmon D (1995) Music and emotion in palliative care: accessing inner resources. In: Lee CA (ed) Lonely waters. Sobell Publications, Oxford, pp 71–84Google Scholar
- 28.Standley JM (1992) Clinical applications of music and chemotherapy: the effects of nausea and emesis. Music Ther Perspect 10:27–35Google Scholar
- 29.Weber S, Nuessler V, Wilmanns W (1997) A pilot study on the influence of receptive music listening on cancer patients during chemotherapy. Int J Arts Med 5:27–35Google Scholar