• Signe Dalgaard-Nielsen
4. term, Music Therapy, Master (Master Programme)

Music Therapy at a Respiratory Medicine Clinic – an Inquiry into the Experiences of Patients and Staff.

For patients with a lung disease every day can be a struggle just to breathe and they often suffer from dyspnea, a feeling of not being able to breathe sufficiently to survive or to take care of even basic everyday tasks. As oxygen and being able to breathe is vital to our survival, it is no surprise that a feeling of dyspnea can cause anxiety and panic attacks, just as having a serious illness can. Even though there is a complex relationship between psyche and soma, and research shows a higher prevalence of anxiety disorders as well as depression in patients with lung diseases, the somatic medical system in Denmark has only very little awareness of the psychological side of somatic illness during hospitalization.

Purpose: The purpose of this master’s thesis is to explore whether and how music therapy during hospitalization can help lung patients deal with the psychological aspects of being seriously ill, how patients and staff experienced the presence of a music therapy intern on the ward, and what bearing a psychodynamic treatment, such as music therapy, might have on a somatic medical ward.

Method: To answer these questions the investigator conducted a hermeneutic inquiry using qualitative methods such as a literature review, two interview studies using thematic analysis, and a descriptive analysis of two questionnaire surveys.

Data: The data in this investigation consists of two questionnaire surveys, for staff and patients respectively, carried out during the last month of the investigator’s internship, as well as two interview studies, including interviews with two patients who received individual music therapy during their hospitalization, and three staff members from the respiratory medical clinic.

Results: The results show that music therapy during hospitalization can be helpful to some patients with lung diseases in order to cope with the emotional stress of having a serious illness, to reduce pain, handle information given by medical staff, and through relaxation get a feeling of being able to breathe more freely. The two patients being interviewed experienced music therapy to be helpful to them, and felt that environmental music therapy had a positive impact on the atmosphere at the ward. Through the questionnaire surveys it is shown that many patients and staff thought environmental music therapy to be a pleasurable experience, but that some found it to be stressful and annoying, and the staff members reported a very mixed experience of music therapy, as some felt the music was an unnecessary disturbance on very busy days, but a pleasurable experience on calmer days. The result also shows that personal attitudes towards music, as well as music preference and mood has a great influence on how music therapy is perceived, and whether it is thought to be appropriate in a hospital ward.
The study gives bearing that a psychodynamic treatment, such as music therapy, might have a place on a medical ward, as some patients need help dealing with psychological issues and have energy and a wish to do so during hospitalization, but that great awareness has to be made as to when and where music therapy is offered, to avoid burdening other patients and staff.
Publication date31 May 2013
Number of pages77
ID: 76945624