The Effect of Individual Music Therapy on Whole-Person Care in Adult Inpatient Rehabilitation

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Tang, Jonathan
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
There is increasing evidence documenting music therapy’s effectiveness in addressing physical, ommunication, cognitive, and psycho-social-emotional needs of patients undergoing rehabilitation. Despite the burgeoning research base, only 16% of music therapists work in medical settings (AMTA, 2016). The purpose of this study is to examine the dosage effect of music therapy on whole-person care in adult inpatient rehabilitation. Forty-eight participants were randomly assigned into three conditions: control group (standard rehabilitative care/therapies); group 1 (individual music therapy once per week); and group 2 (individual music therapy thrice per week). As part of standard care, all participants also received a 30-minute group music therapy session once per week. Results indicated significant improvements in physical well-being, as measured by the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), from admission to discharge in all treatment groups. Patients who received more individual music therapy experienced greater improvements in total FIM scores, specifically in physical and body mobility subscores. Results showed that the control group and group 1 had significant improvements in psychological well-being, as measured by the self-reported 12-Item Well-Being Questionnaire (W-BQ12), from admission to discharge. Group 2’s improvements, however, were not statistically significant. Significant positive correlations between FIM and W-BQ12 were also found, which lends support for mind-body connections in physical rehabilitation. Responses from the interviews were predominately positive regarding music therapy’s role in adult inpatient rehabilitation. The results suggest that music therapy can enhance whole-person care in physical; rehabilitation settings and potentially reduce overall cost of care. More research is required to determine appropriate dosage levels and combinations of individual and group music therapy to promote physical and psychological well-being in adult inpatient rehabilitation.