The Experience of music therapy during the weaning process of patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation


  • Stephanie Morris



music therapy, mechanical ventilation, spontaneous breathing trial, vent weaning


Mechanical ventilation (MV) is a medical intervention used to assist the respiratory function of someone who is medically compromised. Patients need to wean from the ventilator in order to resume breathing on their own. A spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) determines one’s readiness to be liberated from the ventilator. Board-certified music therapists facilitate music interventions to address patient-specific goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapists working in an intensive care unit (ICU) may address the stressors, fears, and medical complications associated with vent weaning. The goal of the present study was to determine if one 30-minute music therapy session during an SBT would decrease the patient’s perceived level of anxiety and improve physiologic metrics related to the SBT, specifically, respiratory rate (RR), blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and heart rate (HR). The researcher also sought to understand the perspective of the patient. The research question was: What does the patient experience related to music therapy during their SBT? Data collected from 20 patients revealed that measurements of HR and blood pressure significantly increased pre- to post-music therapy session. Data analyzed in the interviews suggested that music therapy may assist patients in coping with the physical, emotional, and spiritual stressors of weaning from MV.





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