Navigation Links
Her Music Eases the End for Dying Patients
Date:12/31/2009

Therapist brings songs and comfort to hospice patients and their families

THURSDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Music therapy is used to help Alzheimer's patients remember and autistic children calm down. Now, a University of Alabama student is using her voice and guitar to comfort dying patients in hospice.

Families gathered around the bedside of a dying loved one often request hymns, such as "Amazing Grace," while others ask for favorite classic rock songs, such as songs by the Beatles, that evoke happier moments, said Sarah Pitts, a senior majoring in music therapy.

"I want to be with people when they need someone to provide them with some type of comfort," Pitts said. She recently played for an older woman who was just hours from death. Gradually, the woman's breathing began to slow. Her family gathered around to say their goodbyes. "The family later said hearing the songs she liked made things a little bit better."

Music therapy is about more than playing pleasant music, said Dena Register, an associate professor of music therapy at the University of Kansas who has also worked in hospice. Instead, it's aimed at improving a patient's quality of life, using music as the medium.

"We are not teaching people how to play the guitar or the piano, or singing just to entertain," Register said. "There is always a more targeted goal. In hospice care, it can be any number of things: pain management, to repair relationships or to help a patient express their wishes to family and friends."

An increasing body of research is providing evidence of the power of music. A 2007 study found music therapy dramatically improved the mental and physical condition of patients receiving palliative care.

In the study, some 200 patients aged 24 to 87 with chronic or advanced illnesses, such as cancer, pain disorders, AIDS and sickle cell disease, received music therapy sessions, in which they were able to choose the type of music they wanted to hear played on a keyboard.

Physical and psychological tests done before and after the sessions found that music therapy decreased patient anxiety, pain and shortness of breath. More than 80 percent of the patients said the music improved their mood, as well as that of their family members, according to the study by researchers at the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

Pitts was motivated to reach out to patients at Hospice of West Alabama after her brother learned he was facing a potentially fatal heart defect and needed immediate surgery. "While I was in that waiting room, I felt like I needed somebody there to play a song," Pitts said. "It's simple but it could be a huge thing for a family dealing with this type of death or a trauma."

Her mentor, Andrea Cevasco, an assistant professor of music at the University of Alabama, was impressed with Pitts' willingness to tackle such a challenging and potentially emotionally wrought assignment.

"As an undergrad myself, I never pictured myself doing any kind of hospice work," Cevasco said. "Personally, I wasn't ready to deal with death and dying as an 18- to 22-year-old."

Music therapy can be used in many settings and for all age groups, from premature babies to children with disabilities to seniors with dementia. Certified music therapists, who have training in music, psychology, physiology and other disciplines, are called on to help with a wide range of physical, emotional and social issues. Music therapists are often versed in music from many genres to match the preferences of patients, Register said.

Children with cerebral palsy, for example, might play the drums to encourage them to stretch and use muscles in a way that might seem painful during physical therapy, Cevasco said. Singing can be used with special education students to help them learn to vocalize sounds properly or to teach social skills such as taking turns. For dementia patients, music from their earlier years may be used to help orient them in time and evoke pleasant memories, Pitts said.

"Music therapy can be fun and take away the monotony of whatever it is we are trying to accomplish," Pitts said. "Music provides a certain emotional and even a physical response. For people in hospice, it can give them a moment to come together as a family, to remember a wonderful time and to have one positive thing come out of that person dying."

More information

Read more about music therapy at the American Music Therapy Association.



SOURCES: Sarah Pitts, student, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Dena Register, Ph.D., associate professor, music therapy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.; Andrea Cevasco, assistant professor, music, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Independence Blue Cross Makes Music for Members Ears
2. Giving emergency nurses aromatherapy massages with music dramatically reduced stress levels
3. Giving emergency nurses aromatherapy massages with music dramatically reduced stress levels
4. Music Training Helps Gets People Talking
5. "High School Musicals" Corbin Bleu Joins Colgate-Palmolive, United Way and Miami-Dade Elementary School Students for Dental Health Challenge
6. Country Music Star Sara Evans Hosts Online Auction for National Eating Disorders Association
7. American Idol Star Elliott Yamin and Music Legend Gloria Gaynor To Perform at AnthemLIVE!
8. The Eyes of Christmas: Top Stars Telecast 12 Hours of Holiday Music and Memories for the Visually Impaired to Over 80 Million Homes on Multiple Cable Networks
9. Stimulating muscles may improve musicians dystonia
10. Former Sufferer of Rare Disease Called Musicogenic Epilepsy Thanks LIJ Medical Team That Ended Her Seizures and Gave Her Back the Gift of Music
11. 32-Year-Old Breast Cancer Survivor, Fashion Model Featured in Benefit Concert Music of the Light at Skirball Cultural Center
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... Sober College, ... with the grand opening of the Sober College Robert Pfeifer Memorial Learning Center ... December 2-3, and was attended by an overwhelming amount of alumni, family, colleagues ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... , ... December 09, 2016 , ... "I had a ... inventor from Winchester, Va. "I thought that if the nebulizer had a more child-friendly ... than fearing them." , He developed the patent-pending NEBY to avoid the need to ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... Franchising Company LLC, announced the first national #QuackGivesBack campaign which supported local ... “This was our first franchise-wide Quack Gives Back initiative, and we’re ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... With the increasing demand for dental implants, the ... (WIYM) campaign to inform dentists and patients about the safety issues related to dental ... market in the U.S. is projected to reach $6.4 billion in 2018 with more ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Catalent Pharma Solutions, the leading global provider ... products, today announced that it had joined the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI). ... unite pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that share a vision of better, social, environmental ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Eli Lilly and ... results of its phase 3 EXPEDITION3 trial at the ... meeting. As previously disclosed, solanezumab did not meet the ... of solanezumab initiated in people with mild dementia due ... regulatory submissions for solanezumab for the treatment of mild ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... de dezembro de 2016  A Mederi Therapeutics Inc . anunciou aprovação ... não cirúrgico para a doença do refluxo gastroesofágico (DRGE). Foto -  ... ... Live Stretta procedure performed and broadcast during the Chinese ... Union Hospital , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Pa. , Dec. 8, 2016  Pennsylvania ... Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary ... and insomnia medications, known as benzodiazepines, developed with ... "Benzodiazepines are medications that are frequently prescribed ... when they are used with opioid pain medications, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: