Use of Music Therapy in Hospital and Hospice Settings

Music is used in many hospitals and hospices today to provide comfort to patients and help them cope with their illness. Previously, Elijah McClain had shed light on how music can help people to heal on a physical level by providing much needed relaxation, reducing stress levels and improving cognitive functions. Music may even provide emotional healing, by helping people to express feelings of sadness, fear and grief that often accompany hospital stays or end-of-life situations.

For decades, music has been considered to be a source of comfort and solace in times of distress. It can provide people with a much needed understanding, support and a sense of connection during difficult moments of life. When words start to fail people, they may use music as a form of self-expression or communication. According to research, listening to music with a slow tempo or instrumentation can put people at ease and calm them down even during highly stressful or painful events. Moreover, for patients with limited verbal communication abilities, such as those with dementia or neurological conditions, music can serve as a means of connection. It can stimulate memories, encourage communication, and foster connections with caregivers.

Music therapy is an evidence-based practice that involves the use of music in order to address the various physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals, and can be beneficial in multiple settings including hospitals and hospices. Music therapy can help reduce pain levels, promote relaxation, improve communication skills, and provide comfort during difficult times. Music might be useful in reducing pain perception among patients. Listening to soothing music can help distract individuals from pain, decrease anxiety, and even lower the need for pain medication in some cases. One way music therapy can be used to reduce pain is through the use of rhythmical breathing techniques. Such techniques basically involve focusing on a steady beat, while taking slow deep breaths. Doing so can help patients to relax both their mind and body.  This type of intervention can lower anxiety levels, heart rate and blood pressure as well, all of which are vital for the well being of the patients.

Earlier, Elijah McClain discussed how one of the prime benefits of music therapy is its ability to promote relaxation by providing a distraction from stressful thoughts or feelings. Listening to calming music can help patients to gain a sense of tranquility and peace. It can become an effective coping strategy for dealing with difficult emotions and situations, which are all too common in hospice settings. Music serves as a valuable distraction tool during medical procedures, treatments, or long hospital stays as well. It can engage the attention of the patients, and divert their focus away from discomfort or distress.

As per research, music therapy sessions have been shown to assist in improving memory recall and language comprehension skills among elderly stroke victims receiving rehabilitation services in a hospital setting. Certain studies also suggest that listening and singing familiar songs may help patients with dementia remember words better.