Singing through the Pandemic: Pediatric Palliative Virtual Music Therapy
Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession and an integral component of care for pediatric patients on palliative and hospice care and their families through The Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego, California. Resounding Joy, a San Diego music therapy not-for-profit, has been partnering with Elizabeth Hospice to provide music therapy services to pediatric patients and their families for three years with the generous support of the Music Man Foundation.
Music Therapy services continue through the COVID-19 pandemic virtually and through in-person socially distanced outdoor sessions for eight pediatric patients on hospice care and 36 family members. Thirteen of these family members came from a new program that served perinatal patients with diagnoses of Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 20. Other patient diagnoses include brain tumors, cancer, mitochondria, Rett Syndrome, and Aicardi Syndrome.
Each family receives a minimum of eight hours of music therapy with either 60-minute sessions once per week or 30-minute sessions twice per week. Music therapy goals focus on decreasing pain, depression, anxiety, and stress; expression of emotions; family bonding; and legacy work for children who are near end of life.
Data is collected during each session by the music therapist using the EVENDOL scale, a behavioral pain scale for children ages 0-7 and self-reported data for pain, anxiety, and mood for children over the age of seven and able to report. At the end of the eight-session period, families are given a survey that collects data on their experience of music therapy as a family. At this point, 100% of families have reported that they would strongly recommend music therapy to other families with children on palliative and/or hospice care.
This poster aims to highlight the music therapy services provided to families this year. It includes an overview of the program and goals and objectives of music therapy for this population; details of music therapy interventions used in sessions; demonstrations of legacy projects created by families; and a discussion of challenges and how they continue to be overcome during the COVID-19 pandemic. As music therapy continues to provide imperative family support, it is more important than ever to consider music therapy an integral component of any palliative and hospice care community.
Author: Lindsay Zehren, MT-BC, Resounding Joy