Music therapy – Data Collection


Patient identification Terminally ill patients aged between 18 and 90 years of age receiving palliative care at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem were included in the study. Patients were eligible if they were referred to the hospital’s music therapists for treatment of their anxiety.
Exclusion criteria Potential participants were excluded if they: (a) were unable to speak English, (b) had a major hearing impairment, or (c) scored more than 10 on the Blessed Orientation, Memory and Cognition instrument. This includes a series of simple tasks such as counting backwards, saying the months backwards and asking about orientation to time; people scoring more than 10 are regarded as cognitively impaired.
Patient recruitment Anne did not recruit the patients. They were invited to participate by other staff members, and given a plain language explanation of the study. The study was described as assessing the effects of music therapy and volunteer and other services in the hospital on peoples’ symptoms. Patients were given about 30 minutes to consider participating.
Informed consent Patients agreeing to participate were asked to sign an Informed Consent form.
Refusal to participate If the patient did not wish to participate, he or she was offered music therapy and visits by volunteers.
Assignment to treatments When the consent form was completed, Anne (or another music therapist assisting with the study) opened the relevant randomisation envelope (the first envelope for the first patient recruited, the second envelope for the second patient recruited, and so on). A treatment session was then arranged.
Data collection prior to the intervention Three sets of data were collected by a staff member who was not involved in the study. This included measuring heart rate, filling in the Behavioural Observation Checklist, and assisting the patient with completing the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale. Prior to the intervention, Anne or another music therapist recorded demographic and medical information about the patient and completed the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status.
Music therapy Therapy sessions were held one-on-one in the patient’s room. Anne or one of the other hospital music therapists used a range of music therapy techniques to reduce anxiety.
Standard therapy Sessions with a volunteer were held one-on-one in the patient’s room.
Data collection post-intervention Data were collected by the same staff member who collected the pre-intervention information. Again heart rate was measured, the Behavioural Observation Checklist was completed, and the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale was filled in.



A paper about the Blessed Orientation, Memory and Cognition instrument:

Katzman, R., Brown, T., Fuld, P., Schechter, R., & Schimmel, H. (1983). Validation of a short Orientation-Memory-Concentration Test of cognitive impairment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140(6), 734-739.