Music therapy in hospice care

Our Director of Music Services (Education, Research and Quality Assurance) Simon Procter responds to NICE’s draft guidance on End of life care for infants, children and young people.

It’s great that NICE is highlighting the role that music can play in end of life care for infants, children and young people.

We know that music is central to many people’s sense of identity, and all the more so for children and young people. That’s one of the reasons why families can often make such effective use of music themselves at such a difficult time. Sometimes, though, music’s help needs a further helping hand from a music therapist who can make its possibilities actively available to young people and their families. As well as distracting from pain, music therapy is particularly well suited to helping people to experience companionship, relationship and togetherness, to non-verbal expression at a time when words may be particularly difficult to access, and to experiences of capability, well-being and creativity (which are all the more precious at these times).

Music is a fundamental facet of our humanity and our aliveness: in music we are able to be playful, interactive and adventurous, even in times of illness, pain and fear. It makes absolute sense that music in all its forms, including music therapy, should be available within end of life care for infants, children and young people.

The consultation for NICE’s draft guidance is open until 12 August 2016. 

Photo credit Jacob Hutchins

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Music therapy and palliative care