Music Therapy in Hospice
What do we all have in common you ask? Simple, the answer is music. You heard right. Music. Music is a universal language. I have not seen or heard of a culture that did not involve music in their everyday life in some form or fashion. Even though praise is given to the system of health care in America due to the increase in life expectancy to 75 years from 47 years over the past 100 years, the system has been slow in adapting to the severe illnesses, pain and disability that Americans mostly encounter at the late stages of their lives (Running, Shreffler-Grant, & Andrews, 2008). Serious diseases are mostly accompanied by suffering and pain. This may be especially true in the later stages of serious illnesses at the end of their lives when suffering and pain has taken an overwhelming effect.
The availability of hospice services has helped in giving relief from suffering and pain for elderly people under palliative care. The care offered in palliative settings may suggest a difference between relief and discomfort at that point in an individual’s life. Afterward, the paper will discuss some of the benefits of using music therapy among hospice patients. The History of Music Therapy Music is a medium that has been used for a long time to enhance spiritual well-being. Besides, music has for a long time been used a therapeutic tool for healing. The use of music therapy dates back to 500 B. C in the days of the ancient Grecians when it was renowned for its therapeutic properties (Dobrzynska, Cesarz, Rymaszewska, & Kiejna, 2006).
During the Renaissance period, Zarlino explained the curative elements found in musical harmony and identified the various therapeutic impacts of music, including the relief from pain, treating madness, restoration of hearing and treating people who had suffered from the plague (Dobrzynska et al. Additionally, music therapy was still being used in the treatment of mania and depression in these times. Between the 17th and 18th centuries, vibrations described the curative elements of music. It was believed that music was capable of sending vibrations through the skin thus exciting the muscles as well as other anatomical structures in the body (Dobrzynska et al. The vibrations were believed to be transported by fluids or nerve fibers through resonance passages. The scientists further noted that weird acoustic stimuli results to tension and maximizes vegetative activity.
But, previously noted elements were experienced as pleasant and result in vegetative calming. More research showed that vegetative parameters report to the depth of experiencing music rather than its quality (Dobrzynska et al. Thus, it was not possible to predict how a person’ reacts to music or choose suitable musical compositions for therapeutic uses. After World War 11, a scientific basis for music in medicine was developed. Janiszewski termed music therapy as an area that takes advantage of music in a planned, multifunctional, systematic and holistic manner to complement procedural rehabilitation, pharmacological treatment, psychotherapy and special rehabilitation (Dobrzynska et al. Thus, the broad scope of use of music therapy emerges from its numerous definitions. Modern music therapy, as a form of physio- and psychotherapy is utilized in medicine and special rehabilitation as well as the mental well-being of individuals.
In the advancement of music therapy in the modern medical profession, Thayer Gaston was recognized as the founder of music therapy. He played a major role in the official recognition of music therapy as a tool in the professional medical community. Music therapy is considered as a complementary therapy given by selective hospices. Some of the most common symptoms among hospice patients who require music therapy include depression, anxiety, and isolation. Music in therapy has been noted to enhance the quality of life of individuals in hospice settings. For instance, studies have revealed that for cancer patients in the hospice setting reported increased ratings for the quality of their lives after they music therapy (Pierce, 2011). Also in the same study, cancer patients who failed to receive music therapy rated that their quality of life decreased with time.
Overall, there is insufficient literature for the songwriting technique with older patients and people with developmental disabilities. A majority of studies on the songwriting technique have focused on the use of this technique with older patients who have dementia rather than the healthy ones. According to Lownds (2015), music therapists regularly choose to use music that the client is familiar with instead of the songwriting technique among the older adult patients. Besides, therapists that have reported to use songwriting with the older adults have shown that songs were usually developed in a single session. Also, the therapist gave the client choices to either accept or reject the technique. The Benefits of Music Therapy among Older Adults More than one-quarter of individuals aged above 65 experience psychological problems without gaining access to enough treatment as well as rehabilitative care.
Older people that no longer have the capacity to care for themselves are likely to be taken into a long-term care institution. Therefore, they may be in a situation where they are likely to be coping with an increasingly degenerative brain as well as body tissues while experiencing a considerable upheaval and alterations in the lives, unfamiliar and challenging situations that they are required to cope with. Older people experience a considerable decline in their cognitive abilities with nearly 15 percent suffering from depression (Mohammadi, 2011). A majority of gerontologists have reported on the prominence of the cases of anxiety among elderly people. The two would have a high risk of relapse among the elderly especially if they suffered from depression earlier in their lives.
Depression has turned out to be an increasingly social and clinical problem. Depressive symptoms may be as a result of a causal medical condition or an impairment of cognitive abilities instead of a causal mood disorder. A majority of elderly people who suffer from depression often go undiagnosed because they stay in isolation and cannot recognize the symptoms which are accompanied by the common belief that depression is a normal condition with aging. Also, there is the denial factor because of shame or the stigma of depression (Mohammadi, 2011). Music is an efficient therapeutic medium since it is structured, flexible, is an aesthetic experience and goes with a certain flow that unfolds with time. The significance of singing for the elderly is greatly overlooked in various cultures.
Singing as it may seem has found its purpose as an activity that did not have much importance when compared to the rest and as a way to fill time. Most clinical outcomes in regards to music therapy disprove this position and consider singing as an efficacious medium and viable in the engagement of the elderly in suitable applications to enhance and maintain their quality of life. Different studies show that music positively impacts on the behavior of the elderly people who have dementia by minimizing agitation. A major factor that makes the use of music in therapy a particularly useful medium in treating elderly people is its aid to alleviate feelings and challenges through a non-blaming, respectful approach that will aid them to alter their association with depression and problems in their lives (Mohammadi, 2011).
Such a relationship enhances interplay of an elderly individual's imaginations in the co-authoring of sense and self-acceptance. A study conducted by Lem (2015), consisted of 12 elderly clients who have dementia participating in 20 weekly therapy sessions to establish the possible link between the degree of musical engagement of the participants and their self-evaluated quality of life. Even though there lacked a significant statistics between the variables, there was an indication that increased quality of life after self-assessment may have been due to a reduction in the degree of musical engagement. The study also showed that the degree of engagement in music in 70 percent of the group that had been assessed began to increase following the midpoint of the clinical program (Lem, 2015). Hence, the reason why music therapy for elderly people under palliative care can be so beneficial.
From $10 to earn access
Only on Studyloop