A new study has highlighted the benefits of music therapy in palliative care.
According to the findings of Sandi Curtis, a music therapy professor in the Concordia University Department of Creative Arts Therapies, music can provide a great source of solace to people who face a terminal illness and are confined to a hospital bed or hospice room.
The findings of Sandi Curtis, a music therapy professor in the Concordia University Department of Creative Arts Therapies, are based on a unique collaboration she orchestrated between university music therapy students, musicians from a professional symphony orchestra and a hospital palliative care ward.
As part of the study, which spanned three years, Curtis divided undergraduates and musicians into pairs supervised by an accredited music therapist. As for the 371 participants, they were male and female palliative care patients between 18 and 101 years old. All patients had a terminal illness and most with a diagnosis of cancer.
Participants were seen for a single music therapy session, which lasted from 15 to 60 minutes. Interventions were designed to address four areas - pain relief, relaxation, mood and quality of life.
Three palliative care patients were so comforted by the experience that their families requested music therapy teams return to play soft music as they died. "On two other occasions, because of the strong relationship established in prior music therapy sessions, the music therapy team was asked to perform at the patients' funerals," Curtis added.
The study has been published in the journal Music and Medicine.