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Clinical Services: Adult through Geriatric

Respiratory Step-down Unit

Image: Louis Armstrong

About the Respiratory Step-Down Unit
The Respiratory Step-down Unit provides specialized care for patients on mechanical ventilation due to pneumonia, COPD or other breathing difficulties. In addition to discomfort and pain, depending on a mechanical support to breathe and being unable to speak may produce anxiety, sleep disturbance, hypertension, tachycardia or tachypnea, among other issues, for patients on this unit.

Music Therapy on the Respiratory Step-Down Unit
Music therapy for patients on mechanical ventilation may be used to address physical needs such as alleviating discomfort and pain, facilitating more relaxed breathing rhythms and regulating heart rate and blood pressure. Music therapy may also help to reduce anxiety that frequently accompanies ventilation dependence and provide emotional support for patients and families coping with hospitalization. For patients who are sedated or experiencing loss of consciousness, music therapy may provide gentle stimulation and orientation. Alternately, for patients who may be agitated or having difficulty sleeping, music therapy may be used to promote sedation and relaxation. Clinical music therapy improvisation may also provide a nonverbal outlet for communication and self-expression when vocalization and speech is difficult.

Music therapy sessions available on the unit include:

  • Individual Music Therapy: Patients receive one-to-one supportive music therapy consultations
  • Family Music Therapy: Patients and their families participate in music circles, integrating family members, releasing anxiety and serving the patient's support system
  • Group Music Therapy: Group jams onsite including both patients and staff create a feeling of community, release tension, create new alliances, create a home away from home and deepen relationships between patients and staff
  • Environmental Music Therapy: Live music played for patients and staff fosters a relaxed atmosphere

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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