Music Therapy as an Adjunctive Treatment in the Management of Stress for Patients Being Weaned from Mechanical Ventilation


Journal of Music Therapy




This project investigated music therapy (MT) in managing anxiety associated with weaning from mechanical ventilation. The use of sedation to treat anxiety during weaning is problematic because side effects (e.g., respiratory depression) are precisely the symptoms that cause the weaning process to be interrupted and consequently prolonged. Study goals were to determine the feasibility of incorporating MT into the weaning process and to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention, based on levels of anxiety, Days to Wean (DTW), and patient/nurse satisfaction. Adult patients received multiple MT sessions per week while undergoing weaning trials from mechanical ventilation. Feasibility was determined by successful enrollment in the study and nurse survey. Efficacy was evaluated through anxiety, as measured by heart rate, respiratory rate, and patient/nurse survey; DTW; and patient/nurse satisfaction. Nurse surveys reported that MT was successfully incorporated into the milieu and 61 subjects were enrolled. Significant differences in heart rate and respiratory rate were found from the beginning to the end of MT sessions (p < .05 and p < .0001, respectively), indicating a more relaxed state. No significant difference in mean DTW was found between study and control subjects. Patient/nurse satisfaction was high. Music therapy can be used successfully to treat anxiety associated with weaning from mechanical ventilation. Limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Heart Rate; Mechanical Ventilation; Music Therapy; Patient Satisfaction; Relaxation; Respiratory Rate; Vital Signs

Indexed Terms

Patient education; Speech therapy; Ventilators; Anxiety; Severity of Illness Index; Relaxation Therapy; Respiration, Artificial; Stress; Ventilator Weaning; Patient Satisfaction; Aged, 80 & over; Respiration, Artificial; Elderly; Anxiety; Stress; Ventilator Weaning; Anxiety; Respiration, Artificial; Critical Care

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type