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Implementing Healing Therapies, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 969

Essay

Music therapy intervention in the nursing home setting can help geriatric patients to manage stress, agitation, aggression and restlessness. It can promote wellness and improve communication. Music therapy also assists with physical rehabilitation and allows patients to express their feelings. By understanding the patient’s needs, physical health, emotional state and communication abilities, music therapy intervention can be designed and tailored to fit the individual. Music therapy as a health care instrument can be beneficial to helping patients to experience daily calmness and a sense of peace.

Author Mary Ann Humphrey (2000) describes how soothing music with a hint of bright flutes and piano, begins to play in the background, agitated residents behavior begins to change subtly; with unfocused eyes becoming sharper. Patients responding to music can be seen as they begin to smile and show interest in the music. It is fairly widely known that music influences humans and animals alike with a typical response of stopping and listening with a heightened awareness. Although there is no real scientific theory to document this phenomena neuroscientists’ suspect music can actually help build and strengthen the connections among nerve cells in the cerebral cortex (Humphrey, 2000).

Research has also shown that music therapy is becoming a helpful practice in end-of-life situations.  The value of music therapy in helping dying patients who are withdrawn to become engaged with others is also recognized among health care providers (Hilliard, 2004). It decreases anxiety and prompts patients to relax while also becoming engaged in listening which helps in concentration. Palliative care centers on making the dying patient comfortable and music therapy has proven to be effective in many cases.

Managing agitation in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients has directly affected the quality of life for patients and families. Experts say that all types of behavior are forms of communication and agitation may be one way an elderly patient is trying to tell us something (O’Boyle, 2000). Typically in dementia patients this may signal pain or depression, or simply agitation from external sources. Understanding the nature of the agitation and the triggers for the patient is effective in selecting the right intervention.  Selecting the appropriate music for the individual is also important for effectiveness.

The three sources used to investigate the effectiveness of music therapy are relevant due to the research conducted by the authors and the successful interventions in the patient outcomes. They cover several types of patients to demonstrate the use of music therapy in more patient groups and did not try to single out one specific type of patient.  This demonstrates that music therapy does not apply to just one patient population. The articles further demonstrate research which was conducted and details the results and effectiveness of music therapy intervention in different settings.

The implementation of music therapy in the six patients with dementia in my facility was carried out twice a day. Mid-morning and early evenings were the most appropriate time in order to avoid interrupting the daily routines.  This was also the time the patients seemed to be the most agitated and restless.  Which is a trigger they may be trying to express a need. After researching the music most popular during their young adulthood, I created a playlist for each patient according to age.

The music was played for the residents and as they listened to the music a change in their moods seemed to slowly take over. In the beginning music was played for approximately 30 to 45 minutes twice a day. As the days progressed the patients seemed to become attentive when I would begin the session.  Most of the patients would just listen and appeared to be enjoying the music. One or two would occasionally smile and clap or nod their heads to the beat. Mornings seemed to be the best time. In the evenings they were still engaged but seemed a bit more tired and was not as interested in listening as long.

As the sessions progressed it was easy to tell which types of music the patients enjoyed the most. The classical and natural music would calm and sooth. Some popular music from the age referenced time period seemed to illicit a more personal reaction. Since the residents were not all the same age, there was a definite distinction between the types of music and the ones favored.  Overall the six seemed quite happy with all the songs.

The patients also gave me feedback on some of the songs and were direct with liking one song more than another. By the end of the week the patients had gotten used to the sessions and their overall agitation did not seem as high. I believe in the effectiveness of the sessions and plan to continue with more music options to determine if the agitation states will lessen through time and efforts.

I have learned that in my future practice and career that alternative healing methods can be useful and beneficial. Whereas one modality may not work for one patient, another may. Overall I enjoy listening to music and that may be an additional component to the music therapy intervention. Perhaps facilitating a particular therapy that the facilitator enjoys somehow is demonstrated to the patient.  It may be that practicing what you like is more effective than trying to implement a method you are not interested in, thereby perhaps limiting the effectiveness of the therapy.

References

Humphrey, Mary A. “Alzheimer’s Disease Meets the “Mozart Effect” | Nursing Homes | Find Articles at BNET.” Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Nursing Homes, June 2000. Web. 27 Mar. 2010. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3830/is_6_49/ai_63700204/>.

Hillard, R. E. (2005, June). Music Therapy in Hospice and Palliative Care: a Review of the Empirical Data. Retrieved March 15, 2010, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1142188/

O’Boyle, R. (2000, July 14). Managing Agitation Behavior in Alzheimer’s Patients – HealingWell.com. Retrieved March 10, 2010, from http://www.healingwell.com/LIBRARY/alzheimers/oboyle1.asp

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