Music therapy addresses needs of individuals and families, Conley said. It can be used in hospice care to reduce physical symptoms of pain, agitation and shortness of breath; alleviate feelings of depression, isolation and loss of control; increase quality of life; and provide emotional support to families. She said it is a clinical and evidence-based application of music.
“Music is the tool,” she said, with the goal being self-expression, pain relief or some other form of care. She said people often will have a sense of purpose, their work or day-to-day activities, to keep them going. But people going into hospice have been sick for a long time, and music therapy sometimes can help bring that back.
“The word hospice is hard, but it’s a much broader word than people realize,” Conley said.