On SAGE Insight: Music therapy for end-of-life care: An updated systematic review

From Palliative Medicine

Music therapy has been defined as the use of music and sounds to facilitate the development of a relationship between patients and professionally trained therapists with the aim of supporting relaxation and improving both physical and emotional well-being. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of music therapy versus standard care alone or standard care in combination with other therapies for improving psychological, physiological and social outcomes among adult patients in any palliative care setting.

Abstract

Background: Music therapy during palliative and end-of-life care is well established and positive benefits for patients have been reported.

Aim: Assess the effectiveness of music therapy versus standard care alone or standard care in combination with other therapies for improving psychological, physiological and social outcomes among adult patients in any palliative care setting.

Data sources: In order to update an existing Cochrane systematic review, we searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CENTRAL, ClinicalTrials.gov register and Current Controlled Trials register to identify randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials published between 2009 and April 2015. Nine electronic music therapy journals were searched from 2009 until April 2015, along with reference lists and contact was made with key experts in music therapy. Only studies published in English were eligible for inclusion. Two reviewers independently screened titles, abstracts, assessed relevant studies for eligibility, extracted data and judged risk of bias for included studies. Disagreements were resolved through discussion with a third reviewer. Data were synthesised in Revman using the random effects model. Heterogeneity was assessed using I2.

Results: Three studies were included in the review. Findings suggest that music therapy may be effective for helping to reduce pain in palliative care patients (standard mean deviation = −0.42, 95% confidence interval = −0.68 to −0.17, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Available evidence did not support the use of music therapy to improve overall quality of life in palliative care. While this review suggests that music therapy may be effective for reducing pain, this is based on studies with a high risk of bias. Further high-quality research is required.

 

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Article details
Short Report:
Tracey McConnell, David Scott, and Sam PorteMusic therapy for end-of-life care: An updated systematic review
Palliat Med 0269216316635387, first published on March 4, 2016 doi:10.1177/0269216316635387

 

 

 

 

     
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