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Bereaved Parents’ Experiences of Music Therapy with their Terminally Ill Child

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Lindenfelser, K. J.; Grocke, D.; McFerran, K.

The purpose of this study was to investigate bereaved parents’ experiences of music therapy with their terminally ill child. In-depth interviews were conducted with 7 bereaved parents who were recruited through a community-based palliative care program. The parent participants’ experiences varied as their children who received music therapy ranged in ages from 5 months to 12 years old. The interview transcripts were analyzed using phenomenological strategies. Five global themes emerged from the analysis. These included (a) music therapy was valued as a means of altering the child’s and family’s perception of their situation in the midst of adversity, (b) music therapy was a significant component of remembrance, (c) music therapy was a multifaceted experience for the child and family, (d) music therapy enhanced communication and expression, and (e) parents shared perceptions of and recommendations for improving music therapy services. These emergent themes yield knowledge into the relevance of music therapy within pediatric palliative care.

Research abstracts