Music Therapy in Palliative Care
Deutsches Arzteblatt international
BACKGROUND: Music therapy has been used successfully for over 30 years as part of palliative care programs for severely ill patients. There is nonetheless a lack of high-quality studies that would enable an evidence-based evaluation of its psychological and physiological effects. METHODS: In a randomized controlled trial, 84 hospitalized patients in palliative care were assigned to one of two treatment arms--music therapy and control. The music therapy intervention consisted of two sessions of live music-based relaxation exercises; the patients in the control group listened to a verbal relaxation exercise. The primary endpoints were self-ratings of relaxation, well-being, and acute pain, assessed using visual analog scales. Heart rate variability and health-related quality of life were considered as secondary outcomes. The primary data analysis was performed according to the intention-to-treat principle. RESULTS: Analyses of covariance revealed that music therapy was more effective than the control treatment at promoting relaxation (F = 13.7; p <0.001) and well-being (F = 6.41; p = 0.01). This effect was supported by a significantly greater increase in high-frequency oscillations of the heart rate (F = 8.13; p = 0.01). Music therapy did not differ from control treatment with respect to pain reduction (F = 0.4; p = 0.53), but it led to a significantly greater reduction in the fatigue score on the quality-of-life scale (F = 4.74; p = 0.03). CONCLUSION: Music therapy is an effective treatment with a low dropout rate for the promotion of relaxation and well-being in terminally ill persons undergoing palliative care.
Music and Health Institute Terms
Acute Pain; Fatigue; Heart Rate; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Live Music Listening; Music and Relaxation; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Pain; Palliative Care; Quality of Life; Relaxation; Self-Report Measures; Terminally Ill; Visual Analog Scale (VAS); Vital signs; Wellness and Well-Being
Cancer Pain; Combined Modality Therapy; Germany; Pain Management; Pain Measurement; Palliative Care; Patient Satisfaction; Quality of Life
Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods
Warth, M., Kessler, J., Hillecke, T. K., & Bardenheuer, H. J. (2016). Music Therapy in Palliative Care. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 112 (46), 788-94. Retrieved from https://remix.berklee.edu/mhi-music-pain-articles/288