Music Therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy in End of Life Care: A Qualitative Case Study

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Alery, Sharon
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
This thesis is a qualitative case study illustrating the experiences of one hospice patient and her family as they received sessions that included both music therapy and animal assisted therapy. Four therapy sessions were video/audio recorded and then transcribed; a family member was interviewed following sessions. An independent observer watched the video and checked transcriptions for accuracy and provided an impression of the patient’s responses to music therapy (MT) and animal assisted therapy (AAT) interventions. The independent observer and this researcher observed that the patient was alert and interactive during music therapy/animal assisted therapy sessions. The patient was unable to reflect on the meaning of MT/AAT and quality of life due to level of her dementia. The patient’s family stated that music and dogs had always been an important part of their mom’s life. One of the patient’s daughters stated that because her mom can still participate and enjoy these things this meant that she has quality of life