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Clinical Services: Adult through Geriatric

Intensive Care Units


About Intensive Care Units
These specialized sections of the hospital provide comprehensive and continuous care for persons who are critically ill and who can benefit from ongoing treatment. Intensive care has been shown to benefit patients who are severely ill and medically unstable, and who are suffering from a potentially life-threatening disease or disorder and often require emergency medical intervention.

Music Therapy in Intensive Care Units
The medical music psychotherapy approach used by the specialist-level music therapy clinicians of the Louis and Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy Program is well-suited to meet the advanced needs of patients and families in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Research and clinical experience indicate that hearing functioning remains intact even when patients require sedation. Music and music therapy can provide a means of connection and multi-leveled support for patients and families that complement the acute medical and psychosocial needs that often accompany hospitalization for this patient population.

Music therapists caring for patients and family members in an ICU tailor clinical goals to address the varying needs of each patient and adjust goals of care in treatment to match ongoing changes in medical progress on a daily basis. In this way, music therapy interventions can best support treatment needs as they arise, such as pain management, respiratory distress, fatigue, hypertension, anxiety and depression, as well as provide a sensitive and caring holding environment in which patients and families can express and process emotional reactions that may naturally occur when coping with severe illness and hospitalization, including feelings of:

•  Distress
•  Fear
•  Confusion
•  Frustration
•  Helplessness
•  Anger
•  Sadness
•  Loss

•  Hope
•  Faith
•  Love
•  Strength
•  Courage
•  Determination
•  Grief

Intensive Care Units (ICU's) serving adults through geriatrics at Mount Sinai Beth Israel include the Cardiac Care Unit, Surgical ICU and Medical ICU. Clinical services on these units currently consist of:

  • Daily individual music therapy sessions at the bedside
  • Pre-operative/procedural Anxiety: live music relaxation is used to help patients prepare for surgery and/or procedural care, accompanying patients to the operating and/or treatment room
  • Environmental Music Therapy (EMT), creating a less tense environment
  • Pain Management: using live music with patients undergoing painful treatment/procedures. Patients may use active music-making for release/entrainment or relaxation/meditation with live music to ease pain experience
  • The use of music for patients and families who are at the end of life. Music therapists provide daily session easing the passage from life to death, assuring comfort and support. Music is also used to assist in expression of grief and /or to ensure a dignified death.

Our program maintains the highest quality musical instruments from around the world, and our team is trained in multi-cultural music and a variety of music therapy techniques.

Related Research and Articles
For articles from peer-reviewed journals, research studies and authoritative literature, please see the bibliographies in the Suggested Reading section. Additional information is available through Websites listed on the Related Links page. 

For Questions and Further Information
For questions and further information about music therapy or referrals for yourself, your loved ones or your patients, please call (212) 420-2704 or email info@musicandmedicine.org.

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