Cancer centers across the country are offering music therapy as part of their supportive care programs. The element of music is nationally recognized as an established therapeutic program, according to the American Music Therapy Association. Music therapy interventions are designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation. The effectiveness of music therapy for oncology patients has been documented in numerous studies.
In 2019, West Virginia University expanded its unique Music Therapy Program to include a patient focus at the WVU Cancer Institute’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The program brings music therapy to patients and collaborates with physicians, nurses, and other members of patient treatment teams. It gets the patients active in music, whether through song or playing an instrument. A variety of musical instruments are incorporated into the therapy, based on the patient’s goals.
The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center currently utilizes music therapy in the infusion center one day a week for about five hours. It has become an incredibly popular program, and patients often arrange their appointments around the sessions.
The patients are not the only ones who benefit from the music. The infusion team members enjoy overhearing the sessions, which help to reduce their stress and anxiety, and improve caregiving practices.