The Effect of Music Therapy on Comfort for Pediatric Patients During Electroencephalographic Hookup

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Walker, Jennifer
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Electroencephalographic monitoring is a necessary part of diagnosis and treatment evaluation for patients with Epilepsy, the most common neurological disorder of childhood (Epilepsy Foundation, 2010). EEG monitoring requires a hookup procedure which can cause significant distress and discomfort for children; support from parents, pediatric EEG technicians, and Certified Child Life Specialists does not always ease this discomfort. Loewy, Hallan, Friedman, & Martinez, (2006) demonstrated that musical sedation was effective for achieving sleep or sedation for toddlers undergoing short-term EEG testing. While there is limited quantitative research supporting music therapy for EEG hookup for long-term monitoring, many researchers have shown that music therapy can provide support for patients undergoing other procedures (DeLoach Walworth, 2003; Hunter et al., 2010; Standley & Whipple, 2003; Tan, Yowler, Super, & Fratianne, 2010; Walworth, 2010) and to support pediatric patients during their hospitalization (Nesbitt, & Tabatt-Haussmann, 2008; O’Callaghan, Sexton, & Wheeler, 2007; Robb, 2000; Robb et al., 2008). In keeping with the common goal in healthcare settings to improve patient comfort by providing patient- and family-centered care (Kolcaba & DiMarco, 2005; O’Callaghan, Sexton, & Wheeler 2007), the author aimed to evaluate the efficacy of music therapy in increasing patient and family comfort during and after the EEG hookup. Results were recorded in a randomized control trial that compared individualized music therapy services, including musical sedation and active musical engagement, to standard care. Patients receiving music therapy intervention did not demonstrate increased comfort behaviors or personally report higher levels of comfort; however, parents of children receiving music therapy services reported perceiving greater physical and emotional comfort for their children.