Very few parents expect to find themselves in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It is a stressful, and often traumatic, experience for all involved.
Did you know that music therapy has been shown in research to help babies in the NICU? For instance, while babies are in the NICU, music therapy can help with:
- Regulating breathing
- Encouraging eating
- Increasing oxygen saturation
- Improving weight gain
- Reducing length of time in hospital
NICU parents are understandably at risk for a variety of issues such as Postpartum Depression (both parents, not just the one who gave birth), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When babies receive music therapy, parents can be involved which can help with the emotional fallout.
As well, many music therapists are also qualified to work with clients as music psychotherapists. Music psychotherapy is used by skilled practitioners to treat PTSD and other illnesses. In Ontario, most of the music therapists who are qualified to work in this manner are already Registered Psychotherapists or RPs, and when January 1, 2019 arrives, the only music therapists who will be allowed to work in psychotherapy will have the Registered Psychotherapist credential.
After the NICU
Babies who were in the NICU are at a higher risk for various developmental concerns and may have other issues as they get older. Music therapy can help there too! Next week’s blog entry will cover music therapy for children.
An example of music therapy in Neonatal Intensive Care
Music therapy in the NICU is still developing in Canada and is not widely available (yet!) but it is used fairly extensively elsewhere. Here is a video from Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York about their program:
Other posts in this series
- Music Therapy Through Life: Palliative Care and End of Life
- Music Therapy Through Life: Oncology
- Music Therapy Through Life: Older Adults and Dementia
- Music Therapy Through Life: Mental Health
- Music Therapy Through Life: Rehabilitation
- Music Therapy Through Life: Mid to Late Childhood and Adolescence