Home  /   Services  /   Hospice Patients
At Music Speaks, our goal is to make a positive change for the patients and families in each individual session.  Working together with your hospice team, we provide research-based music therapy interventions to achieve care-planned goals, enhancing the care already provided.

Who can benefit from music therapy in hospice?

If the patient or family is experiencing the following, but not limited to:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Cognitive impairment due to dementia or other neurological issues
  • Respiratory issues
  • Sadness/depression
  • Anticipatory grief

What does a music therapist do in a session?

A music therapist works mostly 1:1 with patients on non-musical goals to address the above listed issues.  This means we aim to help with ailments, problems, or issues that are either identified by the therapist, care-team, or patients and families themselves.  Each session is documented to show the response to interventions and positive outcomes.

Non-musical goals and interventions may include, but not limited to:

Non-musical Goal  Intervention and Reasoning Example
Decrease anxiety or increase relaxation Structural rhythmic song to facilitate focus of attention
Increasing verbal or nonverbal expression Prompting verbalization of lyrics or nonverbal “conversation” with drums
Express life validation and reminisce Musical recall stimulates brain to recall other memories, prompting focus on positive reminiscing of life and accomplishments
Increase respiratory comfort Use structure of music to coincide with rhythm of heart rate and breathing and gradually decrease rhythm to bring steadiness and relaxation


What is the patient expected to do in a music therapy session?

Music therapy is often not passive, but rather interactive similar to other healthcare professions and therapies.  However, the patient has choice and control over level of interaction with the interventions.

Music therapy is very different than having a performer visit or a CD player playing your favorite song.  Music is simply the tool a board certified music therapist is trained to use and mold in different ways to achieve the set non-musical goals.  In order to change the “dosage” of music in a session, music therapists use mostly live music with instruments and voice.

This tool can be thought of in similar ways to medication, exercise equipment, or medical devices:  all initiated by trained professionals in respective fields, to improve a patient’s life.  Enjoyment of the music provided in a session is simply the side-effect of music therapy.

Please contact Music Speaks (563) 249-5781 to find out how we can be an integral part of your team and hospice services to improve the lives of your patients.