A study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that listening to music can help soothe critically ill patients who are on ventilators, reducing their anxiety, need for pain medication and sedation. Reearchers conducted the trial with 373 ventilator patients in the ICU and found that those who listened to music for 80 minutes a day reduced their anxiety by nearly 20 points compared with those who did not.
The patients were divided into three groups: those who listened to white noise, those who chose music to listen to and those who received usual care, with neither intervention. Being able to select the music they listened to also had an impact. Patients who chose their music and listened to it when they wanted to and for as long as they wanted required sedation less often that patients in the control or white noise group.
Most patients in the study had been intubated for respiratory failure or distress and all were alert and able to follow commands.
An INQRI-funded study led by Tracey Yap and Jay Kim found another use for music: reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers. The study used music to cue patients in long-term care facilities to move in order to avoid getting pressure ulcers. The music also cued staff to help to move those patients who couldn't move on their own. Dr. Yap blogged about the study and some unexpected results on the RWJF Human Capital blog for National Nurses Week.
Another INQRI-funded study, led by Michele Balas and William Burke, focused on helping critically ill patients on ventilators stay alert, calm and delirium-free. The researchers tested an intervention that used a nurse-led interprofessional team to implement a bundle of evidence-based practices related to communication, standardized care, and reducing sedation and the amount of time patients spent on a ventilator.