Receptive Music Therapy for Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation in the Intensive Care Unit


American Journal of Critical Care: An Official Publication, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses




BACKGROUND: Live music therapy provided by a board-certified music therapist reduces anxiety, decreases pain, and improves the physiological response of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). OBJECTIVES: To examine the effect of live music therapy on the physiological parameters and pain and agitation levels of adult ICU patients receiving mechanical ventilation. METHODS: A total of 118 patients were randomly assigned to live music therapy or standard care. The music therapy group received 30 minutes of live music therapy tailored to each patient's needs. The Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale and the Critical Care Pain Observation Tool were completed by critical care nurses immediately before and after each session, and the patients' heart rates, respiratory rates, and oxygenation levels were measured. RESULTS: Patients who received live music therapy had significantly different scores on the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (P < .001) and the Critical Care Pain Observation Tool (odds ratio, 6.02; P = .002) compared with the standard care group. Significant differences between groups were also reported in heart rate (P < .001). No significant differences were found in oxygen values. CONCLUSIONS: Live music therapy significantly reduced agitation and heart rate in adult patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the ICU. These findings provide further evidence for the benefits of music therapy in the ICU, including in intubated patients.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Pain; Pain Management and Control; Mechanical Ventilation; Agitation; Anxiety; Sedation; Physiological Measures; Subjective Measures; Hospital Setting; Intensive Care Unit (ICU); Music Therapy; Music Medicine; Receptive Music Methods; Music LIstening; Live Music Listening

Indexed Terms

Pain; Intensive Care Units; Respiration, Artificial; Critical Care

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

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