Collaborative clinical trial explores music medicine on kids in hospital
In a first of its kind collaboration, the Portland, OR-based Children’s Cancer Association (CCA), Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel (RCH) and Legacy Research Institute (LRI) co-led a study to assess the impact of using live music medicine on post-surgery pediatric patients to reduce pain and anxiety. The study was led by R. Serene Perkins, M.D. and Shaban Demirel, PhD in partnership with CCA professional staff and focused on CCA’s flagship program, MyMusicRx®. The subsequent article was published in Frontiers in Oncology earlier this month.
As part of the study, thirty-two pediatric patients aged between 5 and 18 years were considered to receive one live, customized music session by a MyMusicRx music specialist within 12 hours after surgery. Two groups were tested, one being a control group, which did not receive the MyMusicRx intervention. At the time of the study, live music intervention had not been examined in the pediatric postoperative setting; nor had the concept of using scientific methods to investigate transformative moments of joy in pediatric patients and their families.
“Most of the published work on the effects of music in patients involves adults,” said R. Serene Perkins, MD, Director of Surgical and Clinical Research, Legacy Research Institute. “Assessing and managing pain and anxiety in children is more difficult, which is what led us to explore the impact of music medicine in a pilot group of hospitalized children. We believe there is a critical gap in pediatric oncology research: understanding the role of integrative therapies to combat the adverse effects of stress on pediatric patients.”
For more than two decades, CCA has leveraged bedside and digital music programs to create transformative moments of joy for children and families facing cancer and other serious illnesses. CCA’s MyMusicRx program has served more than 180,000 children along with their families, caregivers, and medical professionals in hospitals across the country. Its digital programs are available daily to 7,500 children in 25 pediatric hospitals and growing.
“CCA is the only organization working to position music and joy as best practice in pediatric healthcare settings across the country and ultimately, around the world,” said Regina Ellis, Founder and Chief Joy Officer, Children’s Cancer Association. “For over 22 years CCA’s MyMusicRx program has delivered the healing power of music to hospitalized kids of all ages and diagnoses. Today, we’re committed to leading new, scientific studies that will quantify when, where, and how our tailored music interventions can provide maximum impact and improve quality of life for seriously ill kids and teens as part of a multidisciplinary approach to their treatment.”
Randall Children’s Hospital was CCA’s first hospital partner and is the organization’s primary research and development hub for its programs and services. This long-time partnership and shared focus on excellence in integrative treatment solutions allowed for the creation and implementation of the collaborative study.
The study’s findings showed a single music intervention for pediatric postoperative patients did not appear to be an adequate supplement to decrease pain over traditional methods of pain control. However, throughout the duration of the study, the psychological well-being, patient engagement, and family perception of the music medicine was not evaluated, allowing for promising future study of pediatric stress management using cognitive methods, such as MyMusicRx.
A second phase of the clinical trial is planned for April 2018. It will focus on the behavioral impact MyMusicRx has on children and will incorporate a “Joy Scale” to explore the impact of music medicine on their moods and emotions.
The concept of a Joy Scale is part of a larger methodology CCA is testing through a redesign of its digital MyMusicRx program, which is offered free-of-charge at www.mymusicrx.org. The digital service empowers hospitalized kids to shift, plan, and grow through music. A mood shift tool allows kids to select songs, games, and music lessons based on how they want to feel. Personalized videos, music, and activity recommendations help kids reach their desired mood faster. The new site will launch in May 2018.
For media inquiries, contact Ashley Stanford Cone.
Photo courtesy of Children's Cancer Association.