Reducing Pain and Anxiety

Nurses find that nature sounds and soothing music are effective.

To fulfill her requirements for her doctoral degree, nurse Ling-Chun Chiang conducted a study of the effects of music on reducing pain and anxiety among patients receiving hospice care in Taiwan. She received assistance in conducting the four-group randomized trial from nurses at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and presented her findings at the 2015 Oncology Nursing Society Congress.

The researchers studied 123 patients receiving hospice care at two hospitals in Taiwan. Participants listened to preselected sedative music, nature sounds, or a combination of sedative music and nature sounds, and listened once a day for 3 days. Patients in the control group spent 20 minutes quietly relaxing without music. Pain and anxiety levels were measured using visual analogue scales before and after each music session. The researchers found that the three groups that listened to music reported significantly less pain and anxiety than the control group.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that patients independently listened to Taiwanese folk music and forest sounds for an average of 4 additional hours per day. The findings suggest that nurses can use music, nature sounds, or the combination of both to help reduce pain and anxiety among hospice patients.