Music Therapy Intervention to Reduce Caregiver Distress at End of Life: A Feasibility Study

Kevin J. Whitford, Angela M. Ulrich, Brianna E. Larsen, Christina M. Phelps, Martha J. Siska, Maureen L. Bigelow, Travis J. Dockter, Christina Wood, Monica P. Walton, Amy J. Stelpflug, Maria I. Lapid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Music therapy (MT) can relieve distressing end-of-life symptoms, but little is known regarding its effect on caregivers who are at risk for emotional distress as their loved ones approach death. Measures: Quality of life (Linear Analogue Self-Assessment), depressive and anxiety symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety), and stress (Role Overload Measure) pre-MT, post-MT and at 6-month follow-up, as well as a satisfaction survey post-MT. Intervention: Single MT session for 20-45 minutes Outcomes: 15/20 completed MT intervention, 14 also completed pre-MT and post-MT assessments, and 9 completed assessments at all 3 timepoints. Post-MT satisfaction survey (n=14) showed 100% of caregivers were very satisfied with MT and would recommend to others, and found MT very effective for emotional support (85.7%), stress relief (78.6%), spiritual support (71.4%), general feeling of wellness (71.4%), relaxation (69.2%), and pain relief (33.3%). Conclusions: Research on MT is feasible for caregivers of inpatient hospice patients. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT03322228.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e417-e423
JournalJournal of pain and symptom management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Quality of life
  • caregiver burden
  • hospice
  • inpatient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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