Music therapy is being used increasingly throughout a variety of medical scenarios and is especially seen as beneficial when used as a part of end-of-life care. Nearly all individuals can enjoy music because there are so many varieties. It comes in nearly any language with almost any rhythm and range. When used with the help of a board-certified music therapist, it can significantly improve the quality of life for terminally ill patients and their family members, a primary concern of hospice.
Music Therapy Benefits Patients and Their Families
Numerous studies over the years have looked into the benefits of music therapy for patients. While no major studies have been completed, numerous smaller studies have shown that patients who listen to music or make music often experience improved pain tolerance, decreased symptoms of pain, improved energy, lessened anxiety and decreased depression. Family members can experience increased emotional support and improved interactions among themselves.
Music Therapy Is All-Inclusive
While music therapy should be used under the guidance of a certified music therapist, the guidelines beneath this are not very stringent. Therapy could include singing, listening to music, making music on an instrument or viewing live music. The patient could participate, the family could participate, or it could be a completely passive experience. Music therapists often have access to a variety of instruments, such as guitars, autoharps, chimes and rhythm instruments.
Music Therapy Also Benefits Those Who Have Been Bereaved
Music therapy can be used successfully past the patient’s death. Family members can benefit from this therapy when in counseling sessions and may even be able to learn techniques from the therapist that can be used at home. They may find that they can better express their sorrow in song rather than in speech, and some may benefit from writing lyrics expressing their feelings of sadness, distress, and anger. This can be a great option for working with children and adolescents who have lost loved ones.