The Holistic Approach To Hospice Care: Music Therapy


This is part one on our series of The Holistic Approach to Hospice Care.  Our very own music therapist, Vicki McClurg, understands the benefits of music therapy to the variety of patients we care for.Vicki’s approach to music therapy is similar to many other therapies. Identify the needs of the patient. Assessment of the areas of interest of the patient. Define goals that stimulate those interests. Create a plan of care that both engages the patient, but without being overwhelming.

Medicine in general is beginning to embrace this notion that: treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. Music is more than sounds.Its rhythm and harmony and memory and emotion all wrapped up in a melody.  It stimulates emotions whether that be happy or sad, depressed or excited, It touches the human soul. When Vicki comes back to the office and shares how great her session was with a patient, the entire team is excited. She will talk about how stimulated or involved they were, how this is the first they have smiled in weeks, how the family members were crying from joy because they see their mom as they remember her.

The benefits of music therapy are endless, but i want to share some of our real life interactions. 

 We have a patient who is reserved and has continued to withdrawal from family and friends. They have Alzheimer’s disease. Our first session of music therapy brought new life in the patient. Stimulating their cognition, singing for the first time in years.  There is no better site than to see an entire family all singing along with their loved one. We are not the symptom management team (even though we pride ourselves on doing that well) but we are a team or that will take an extra look at our patients and say “what can we do for them, so they are even more comfortable.”

"Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words."

Music Therapy

Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.

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