Effects of music as medicine during bone marrow biopsy

March 5, 2020 Swedish Health Team

[3 MIN Read]

The Hematology/Oncology clinic at First Hill launched an exciting 6-month pilot study this past April, Heme/Onc Experience Music Project (HEMP).

This interdisciplinary, non-pharmacological approach to procedural support has proven to be effective, efficient, noninvasive, and inexpensive.

The purpose of this study was to offer a non-pharmacological intervention and to determine if the use of music medicine interventions would moderate distress, anxiety, or pain during Bone Marrow Biopsies.

Eligible patients were provided a clinic iPad which was loaded with 6 different pre-recorded music tracks created by SCI’s Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) specifically designed to decrease heart rate and muscle tension. Patients self-selected their desired music track and were instructed by the RN to begin listening prior to the procedure to allow time to entrain to the music and relaxation cues. The music track played throughout the procedure.

61 patients participated in HEMP, 21 completed data collection surveys. The surveys indicated that 57.1% of the participants experienced a decrease in distress, 71.4% of the participants experienced a decrease in anxiety, and 19% of the participants experienced a decrease in pain. 

Additionally, 76.2% of the participants indicated that listening to the provided music impacted their procedure. 90.5% of participants indicated that it is important to them that SCI offers alternative methods to help reduce distress, anxiety, and pain and they would be willing to use this service again. 

Currently, HEMP continues to be offered to patients at First Hill with plans to expand to other SMC clinics in 2020. This service truly allows SCI to live into its values of providing “care that’s personalized for you” by having a “team [that] works in a collaborative environment to focus on you – not your disease” and by fighting cancer “using every available tool”. 

In addition to Music Medicine interventions (pre-recorded music offered by a medical personnel for symptom management), SCI offers Music Therapy services (clinical use of evidenced-based music interventions, provided by a MT-BC, addressing therapeutic goals) free of charge to all patients, families, and caregivers.

To find out more about HEMP please contact Sharon Mast, MSW, LSWAIC at 206-386-6329, Judy Delismon, MN, RN, OCN at 206-386-2295, or Betsy Hartman, MT-BC at 206-386-6711.

Related Services

Swedish Cancer Institute


Previous Article
Winter recipe: Coconut curry recipe
Winter recipe: Coconut curry recipe

With this cold and rainy weather, this coconut curry will bring comfort with mouth-bursting creamy flavors

Next Article
Five essential guidelines to control infection
Five essential guidelines to control infection

Preventing infection is essential for patients with a weakened immune system in order to heal properly.