The effects of music therapy on comfort in the mechanically ventilated patient in the intensive care unit

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the effects of music therapy on comfort in acute mechanically ventilated patients in the Intensive Care Unit. Mechanical ventilation leads to decreased comfort. Pain and anxiety may increase during this treatment modality, and the literature suggests this may directly affect patient comfort levels. Music therapy as a nursing intervention within the context of comfort, pain, and anxiety of mechanically ventilated patients was investigated. This quasi-experiemental study used a pre-test and post-test design with subjects serving as their own control. The convenience sample consisted of 2 men and 3 women who were mechanically ventilated and fit the selection criteria. Dependent variables measured included comfort, pain, and anxiety. Physiologic dependent measures included heart rate, respiratory rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure collected at timed intervals. Comfort was measured using a modified version of the Hospice Comfort Questionnaire. Pain was measured using the Numerical Graphic Rating Pain Scale. Anxiety was measured using the Faces Anxiety Scale. Important preliminary quantitative results are provided by this pilot study. The mean, standard deviation, significance, and paired t-tests were compared for each tool to determine changes in scoring before and after the intervention and control. This was also completed for physiological data including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate. Paired t-tests showed no significant mean differences between two points of measurement on systolic, diastolic, heart rate, and respiratory rate in both the intervention and control groups. Comfort, anxiety, and pain scores before and after the intervention and control also did not demonstrate significance. The small sample size makes generalization of these findings impossible to the entire population of acute mechanically ventilated patients in Billings, Montana.




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