Music therapy is a powerful form of therapy used in many pediatric palliative and hospice care programs. Throughout life, music plays a vital role in shaping and reinforcing physical, social, and emotional well-being. Music can provide relief in a variety of ways, from affecting the heart rate, breathing, mood or sense of calm, to flooding the brain with natural endorphins that can ease pain and provide comfort. Music therapy as part of a pediatric hospice or palliative care program can be especially effective at easing the emotional distress of facing a serious, chronic, or life-limiting illness.
Benefits Of Music Therapy for Pediatric Palliative Care
Music therapy is effective in promoting relaxation and providing distraction and relief from pain for patients with serious illnesses. From a physiological perspective, music therapy has been shown to improve mood, reduce fatigue and agitation, slow down the respiratory rate and help patients to feel more awake and alert. This allows patients to cope more effectively with feelings of hopelessness, stress and isolation.
Music therapy transcends language and culture, and can be adjusted to reach patients from many backgrounds, developmental levels, and stages of illness. Music proves to be an invaluable source of connection, enhancing the communication between patients and their families during times of intense emotion.
Uses of music therapy may include:
- Symptom management via non-pharmacological support
- Increased sense of well-being and optimism
- Enhanced spiritual support
- Reduction of stress for the patient and family members
- Opportunities for connection and togetherness
How Does Music Therapy Incorporate into the Palliative Care Process
Music therapy is considered a creative arts therapy, a subfield of therapy that emphasizes the process of interaction and creation as well as passive engagement. Expressive therapists are trained in reading and responding to patients’ body language and emotions to adjust the experience of therapy with the overall needs and desires of the patient. This helps to create and reinforce positive feelings and allows the patient to guide the creative experience.
Expressive therapies such as music therapy are based on the assumption that people can heal through the process of creative expression, and aim to encourage active participation when possible. By incorporating music in a variety ways, music therapists aim to help patients improve their physical and mental health. These approaches can include song writing, improvisation, guided imagery through music, lyric analysis, singing, instrument playing and relaxation through music listening.
About KCR Music Therapists
All of the highly skilled music therapists at KidsCare of the Rockies are board certified, and have earned a degree in music therapy from an accredited university. A degree in music therapy requires proficiency in guitar, piano, voice, music theory and music therapy techniques, as well as skills in assessment, documentation, and other counseling and health care skills.
Contact KidsCare of The Rockies today to learn more about our music therapy services.