Annual Dialysis Conference

Annual Dialysis Conference

March 21, 2019
1 min read

Music therapy may benefit children on hemodialysis

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

DALLAS — Music therapy helped children in a hemodialysis unit achieve a variety of goals and evoked a positive response from patients, family and staff, according to findings presented at the Annual Dialysis Conference.

“Studies suggest music interventions may be effective in improving quality of life, managing anxiety and pain, and supporting emotional well-being in patients on maintenance hemodialysis,” Rebekah Martin, MT-BC, of Lucie Packard Children’s Hospital, and colleagues wrote in a poster presentation. “Children spend a significant amount of time on hemodialysis that might otherwise be spent engaging in developmentally appropriate and entertaining activities. Data regarding music therapy in a pediatric hemodialysis unit is limited.”

To determine if safely providing music therapy to children on hemodialysis was feasible and effective, researchers recruited a board-certified music therapist to work with eight patients on hemodialysis who were seen once a week for 25 to 45 minutes (192 sessions). The music therapy consisted of interventions including active music-making, developmental music interactions, developmental speech and language therapy, therapeutic instrumental music lessons, music improvisation and story-telling, music-assisted relaxation, therapeutic songwriting and lyric analysis.

Researchers developed a list of goals they hoped could be assisted with music therapy. These included enhancing developmental milestones, improving communication skills, increasing self and emotional expression, decreasing anxiety and agitation and increasing engagement and activity during dialysis.

Researchers found that music therapy was well-tolerated in the patients and there were no increased alarms or intolerance to hemodialysis, even though patients engaged in more movement. In addition, patients demonstrated gains in the goal areas.

According to the researchers, more funding should be secured for music therapy — allowing for group music therapy sessions for those unable to receive one-on-one services — and music therapy goals should be aligned with the entire interdisciplinary dialysis team. – by Melissa J. Webb


Martin R, et al. Feasibility and acceptability of music therapy in pediatric hemodialysis unit. Presented at the Annual Dialysis Conference; March 16-19, 2018; Dallas.

Disclosure : Healio/Nephrology was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.