Music Therapy: The Benefits for Hospice Patients

June 15, 2021


It’s nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t appreciate some form of music. The therapeutic effects of music therapy do not require the patient to know music composition or play an instrument. Music has the natural ability to resurface positive memories and emotional experiences from our past, creating relaxation and uplifting the spirits of patients.


What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy in hospice and palliative care has been rapidly growing in demand due to natural therapeutic benefits. It uses clinical and evidence-based musical intervention and natural mood-lifting properties of music to help improve the patient’s overall well-being. Music therapy is not just for hospice and palliative care patients. People of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and abilities can gain from the therapeutic benefits.


What is the Goal of Music Therapy in Hospice Care?

The goals of music therapy in hospice care depend significantly on the goals established for each patient. Goals for a patient may include:

  • Emotional support, reducing anxiety, life review, and mood elevation
  • Reducing loneliness, isolation, and providing social support
  • Relaxation and comfort, passive listening that may be enhanced with guided imagery, helping patients be more alert and present
  • Physical support, helping patients with pain and symptom management, and calming patients who may be restless or agitated


How Does Music Therapy Work?

Music therapists have a deep knowledge of how music can positively uplift the emotional well-being of the patient. Music therapists begin by assessing whether music therapy is appropriate for a patient. Music therapists have a deep knowledge of how music can positively uplift the emotional well-being of the patient.

Music therapists evaluate the patient’s specific needs for treatment by combining their wide range of musical knowledge and skills. They develop a particular and unique plan to help their patients find relaxation and comfort.


What Techniques are Used for Music Therapy?

Music therapists working with hospice and palliative care patients use many techniques for treatment, including:


Who Can Benefit from Music Therapy?

Music therapists have experience evaluating patients for consideration of music therapy to determine if it would offer a benefit. Not all patients may want to receive music therapy. Patients who benefit the most may need additional support in one of the following areas:

  • Social (isolation and loneliness)
  • Emotional (depression and anxiety)
  • Physical (pain and symptom management)
  • Cognitive (disorientation and confusion)


Promoting Peace and Relaxation

Once a board-certified music therapist has evaluated and proposed music therapy as a good fit for the patient, they can then begin to experience the numerous benefits it has to offer our patients and their families. At EverHeart Hospice, music therapy allows our patients to experience moments of joy, peace, and bring back memories of positive times in their life.

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