Being in a hospital on a ventilator is one of the more stressful experiences a person can have. People are placed on mechanical ventilation for a variety of reasons. Some only require assisted breathing temporarily after an accident or after surgery, but others need mechanical ventilation for longer periods of time. The stress of using a machine to breathe, the noises in the I.C.U and the isolation of being unable to communicate with others causes considerable fear and anxiety in most patients.
The solution? According to a new study, people who require assisted breathing may benefit from listening to music. When researchers from the esteemed Cochrane review looked at data from eight different studies, they found that patients on assisted breathing who listened to music had lower heart rates, breathing rates and less anxiety – but not lower blood pressures. The patients in these studies listened to live and recorded music selected by a trained music therapist.
Mechanical Ventilation and Music
This is exciting news since music is a safe, low-cost way to make patients on a ventilator feel more comfortable. It’s not clear whether certain types of music offer more benefits than others, but this will most likely be explored in a future study.
It would seem that new age or classical music without words would be the most soothing to patients on a ventilator, but this could vary depending on a person’s age and medical condition. The authors of this study recommend using the services of a music therapist to select appropriate tunes for patients who require assisted breathing.
The Power of Music for Healing
More hospitals are recognizing the value of music for helping patients heal, not just ones on a ventilator. Music not only relieves stress, but it helps to reduce pain awareness and creates a positive mental outlook. It also helps to reduce heart and respiratory rate, which is beneficial for people with certain medical conditions, especially those who have just had a heart attack. No wonder music therapy is growing in popularity among the mainstream medical community.
Music for People on Mechanical Ventilation: The Bottom Line?
If you have a loved one on mechanical ventilation, enlist the services of a musical therapist to prescribe some stress-relieving music. It could make being on a ventilator a little more bearable.
Eurekalert.org. “Music Relieves Stress of Assisted Breathing”.