Hospitalized Patient, Lancaster, Ohio

Patient K (a patient in her 70s) was admitted to the hospital for increased confusion, combative behaviors, and she had aphasic speech. She needed one-on-one supervision during her stay while the doctors tried to figure out what was causing her confusion and pain. Hospital staff had trouble keeping her calm and positively occupied. When the music therapist arrived, Client K smiled but initially replied, “I don’t sing” when asked if she would like music. The nursing assistant stated, “What?! You were just singing! What song was it?” Client K closed her eyes and began to sing “Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s gone.” The music therapist immediately pulled out her guitar, found the key she was singing in, and accompanied her while singing. Client K started tapping her hand to the music, smiled, and made eye contact with the music therapist. The music therapist began singing and improvising to continue to encourage the patient to continue singing.

This particular visit lasted about 45 minutes. The patient affect brightened throughout, her speech became more cohesive, and she showed no combative behaviors during the music therapy session. The music therapist saw the patient each day during the rest of her stay at the nurses’ requests since the first session was so successful and because the patient requested the music therapist return. In the following sessions, she played piano for the music therapist and some family attended the visits. Visiting family members expressed appreciation and increased hospital satisfaction to see the patient so calm and clear and comfortable during a part of her stay.