Adolescents are prone to anxiety under the best of circumstances.  It’s a time a life that’s full of changes, some expected, some unexpected! Having to be in a pediatric ICU is definitely unexpected and the anxiety levels there are sky-high!
So I was particularly happy to see this new research study appear online this morning in my email entitled:

Impact of music therapy and hand massage in the pediatric intensive care unit on pain, fear and stress: Randomized controlled trial

In this empirical study, conducted in Turkey, the adolescents were divided into three groups.
  • a music group of 33 patients
  • a hand massage group of 33 patients
  • a control group of 33 patients that received the standard care

The study does not reveal what the music intervention was, but reports at the end that “Nurses may use music therapy and hand massage to manage fear and pain related to blood drawing in the PICU.”

The results were that both the music group and the hand massage group had lower pain and fear score results, based on the FACES pain scale

Pain scale for adolescents

as well as a a pain scale called the Children’s Fear scale. The researchers also looked at blood cortisol levels. (Cortisol is a hormone. produced by the adrenal glands and found in the blood when people are under great stress.)

Here is a link to the study if you’d like to read more about it: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37230011/

I am grateful that these studies exist but it would be so helpful if the researchers would let us know the type of music they used and how it was delivered. As a colleague of mine said recently, it’s like saying “the researchers gave the patient medicine,” but not say what the medicine was or how much they gave or how often!

They also state that the “music therapy” can be delivered by nurses!  Unless the nurse is also a music therapist, this is not possible. HOWEVER, the nurse can definitely deliver music medicine through pre-loaded headphones with therapeutic music chosen by a clinical musicologist.

To read more about this, go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/patient-products.