Music therapy is one of the services we’re most proud to offer at Aspire Home Health and Hospice. Unfortunately, because Medicare does not require music therapy, many hospice providers do not even offer it.  However, at Aspire, our vision is, “Aspiring to be a positive influence for humanity.” Therefore, even though we are not required to offer this service, the right thing to do is to provide it anyway.  In this blog, I’ll describe what music therapy is and how it benefits its participants.

What is Music Therapy?

The generally accepted definition of music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.” These individualized goals can include pain management, breath control, mood management, and improving comfort.  Music therapists also often help their patients fall asleep and get some much-needed rest.

music therapy session, two people playing a pianoHow is Music Therapy Performed?

Music therapists are great at working within their patients’ comfort levels. For example, suppose a patient does not have much musical experience. In that case, they’ll likely be able to participate either by humming, singing, or using a simple instrument like a tambourine or hand drums.  However, if a patient has more musical experience, they could participate on a piano or a guitar.  Either way, the music therapist will play music for the patient and work with them to achieve their personalized goal, such as breath control, pain management, etc.  Each session will have a few differences, and the therapist will personalize each session to the patient’s specific needs.  Most often, therapists use techniques involving musical improvisation, games, or even playing the patient’s favorite songs.  As the session goes on, the therapist will acknowledge and support the patient’s reactions and integrate them into achieving their goals.

Music therapy does not have to involve the patient playing music at all.  Some patients prefer to listen to music; others prefer to dance or move along to the music. Some patients have even written their own songs and raps as part of their session.  All of these techniques are effective in achieving the patient’s personalized goals.

How Has it Benefitted Patients Before?

We frequently hear stories from our patients and their families about how much they love music therapy. For example, in a google review we received recently, a patient’s daughter told us about how she came home to see her mother, who had no musical experience, playing the tambourine and singing along with her music therapist. In addition, we have had other patients who have had severe breathing problems; through this service, these patients showed improved breathing and were able to get a much-needed night of sleep.

Music therapy is just one of the life-enriching services we offer at Aspire Home Health and Hospice.  To see the other services we offer, visit this page of our website. If you’d like to know more about music therapy, give us a call today!

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