Emily holds a specialized certificate in Hospice-Palliative Care Music Therapy!

A multitude of research studies indicate that music therapy is effective in hospice and palliative care to address a variety of goals and objectives.  Check out this video on Music Therapy in Hospice Care or For specific books and articles, see Resources and Bibliography


  • Pain management
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Increased quality of life
  • Expression of feelings and emotions (both verbally and nonverbally)
  • Facilitate feelings of personal meaningfulness
  • Minimization of physical distress
  • Alleviation of terminal agitation/restlessness
  • Decrease emotional distress
  • Decrease feelings of isolation/rejection
  • Increase feelings of closeness, acceptance, and intimacy
  • Increase range of coping mechanisms
  • Decrease nausea and vomiting
  • Increase perceived quality of life
  • Gain a sense of spiritual support
  • Resolve family conflict/relational stress
  • Increase self esteem/self acceptance
  • Assist family members/loved ones in their interaction with patient
  • Provide bereavement follow up
  • Regain a sense of control
  • MORE
Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.
  • Music Therapy Relaxation Techniques (MTRT)
  • Lyric analyses
  • Guided imagery
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Instrumental improvisation
  • Improvised singing
  • Songwriting
  • Song parody
  • Composition
  • Music listening
  • Songs as a life review stimulus
  • Use of nature/environmental sounds
  • Planning memorial services with music
  • Sing along
  • Song choice
  • Music and massage
  • Leaving legacy through musical gifts (song collage, patient written songs, etc.)

Patient Progression in Hospice Music Therapy Program

  1. Referral:  the music therapy program is referral based; only referred patients will be seen by the music therapist.  Any member of the interdisciplinary team can refer a patient for a music therapy evaluation.  This is done when a Music Therapy referral document is filled out by the team member and then given to the music therapist.  A clinical reason for the referral must be included in the document.
  2. Evaluation:  the music therapist will complete the evaluation form which includes the patient’s musical background, his/her psychological and cognitive status, his/her response to music, and the expressive ability of the patient.  The music therapist will identify the patient/family/caregiver’s need(s) and devise treatment goals to fulfill that need(s).
  3. Treatment Planning:  the music therapist designs therapeutic interventions to meet the need(s) of the patient set within his/her strengths, culture, and faith.  Live music is usually used since research shows that it is more beneficial to the patient.
  4. Implementation and Evaluation:  the music therapist will implement the treatment with a frequency that would be most beneficial for the patient and reevaluate to ensure that music therapy continues to be an effective form of treatment for the patient.
  5. Documentation:  each intervention is documented at the conclusion of each session, referencing the patient’s physical status and observable, measurable outcomes of the music therapy intervention(s).  Music therapists are trained to document the patient’s positive response to the music therapy while also showing decline related to his/her illness.

Services Offered by Music Therapy:

    Individual music therapy sessions
    Procedural support music therapy
    Family music therapy sessions
    Group music therapy session (ie. bereavement, staff support, etc)
    Staff support: the music therapist on the interdisciplinary team will give the other members of the team access to             different services for their patients as well as provide direct staff support.
    Libraries: collections of musical references (CD’s, books, sheet music, research, etc) and instruments can be                 developed for use by families, staff, and volunteers.