The Benefits of Music Therapy for Hospice Patients
Music therapy is an innovative therapeutic approach that utilizes music’s healing power to provide comfort and healing. Hospices often provide music therapy services in order to enhance a patient’s quality of life as well as their emotional wellbeing and support system for caregivers and family members.
Studies have suggested that patients who take part in music therapy may experience a reduction of anxiety and stress, as well as being more relaxed overall. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated the release of serotonin–the happy hormone–which helps people regulate feelings and symptoms.
Music therapy offers many advantages to all patients, particularly those in hospice or palliative care. According to Jennifer Knittel – board-certified music therapist and co-owner of Endsong Studios in Springfield, MO – “music brings people positive emotions that contribute to their overall well-being”.
Knittel has witnessed firsthand how music therapy can transform a patient’s mood, relieve pain and bring family members a renewed sense of serenity. She says her favorite part of her job is witnessing patients respond to music in ways they may not have anticipated prior to entering hospice care.
One way she helps hospice patients relax and feel at ease is by playing their favorite music. According to her, this can energize them and lift spirits, helping them forget about any negative memories associated with living with chronic illness.
Hospice music therapy seeks to improve a patient’s quality of life by attending to their physical, psychological and spiritual requirements. Furthermore, music therapists offer patients an outlet for creative expression through songwriting or lyric composition.
Songs can also be a tool for patients to express their wishes, fears and worries to a medical team. For instance, someone grieving might compose a song about their loved one which the therapist can then perform together, providing them with an outlet for expression and relieving depression or stress, according to Heineman.
Sheineman has discovered that the best music to play for patients with dementia is familiar and likable, such as songs from their youth. Additionally, music can serve to distract patients who are feeling agitated, angry or irritable.
Another way music can benefit a patient is by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good neurotransmitters. She notes that these chemicals can quickly lift someone’s mood and reduce pain perception – sometimes in an instant!
Clements-Cortes emphasizes how music therapy can be particularly helpful for patients with dementia who can become easily irritated or anxious. When music therapists use their smartphones to play favorite songs for their patients, it helps them focus on something else and divert their attention away from the condition.
Music therapy not only promotes physical and emotional wellbeing for patients, it has been linked to lower blood pressure and faster sleeping rates. Furthermore, it reduces stress levels which makes managing pain and other symptoms associated with terminal illness much simpler for those affected by it.