Music therapy and life-threatening illness

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Life-threatening illnesses can include immunodeficiency diseases, metabolic disorders and irreversible organ failure. People of all ages are affected.

Medical treatment may be painful and can  involve long periods of hospitalisation and time spent in isolation. Both patients and their families are placed under enormous stress and often have to cope with lack of autonomy and feelings of helplessness and uncertainty.

Music therapy offers an opportunity to play, sing, listen, compose, record or learn instruments. It can take place in a dedicated room or at the bedside. Live music can bring together the whole ward or unit, involving staff as well as patients and families.

Benefits may include:

  • An opportunity to take a patient’s mind off gruelling and often painful treatment
  • Assertion of autonomy and choice which has been taken away in other areas
  • Easing anxiety, enabling person to cope with other treatments better
  • Developing new skills and having an opportunity to focus on something other than the illness
  • Providing an opportunity to talk and sing about difficulties of situation
  • Maintaining social relationships; enabling a family to experience a sense of normality and fun in a stressful environment.

If you’d like to speak to one of our therapists about music therapy and life-threatening illness, get in touch or find out how to make a referral for you or on behalf of an organisation.