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Music Therapy Increasingly a Part of End-of-Life Care

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - With a guitar and melodies ranging from gospel to country, Jennifer Trippe offers soothing sounds to a small audience far from the lights of a stage.

She uses music to comfort terminally ill patients with Wiregrass Hospice in Dothan, one of about 250 music therapists across the country whose practice is devoted to the end-of-life experience.

She says it helps if a patient is depressed. They even start singing along sometimes.

There are also therapists who work in larger health care agencies that devote some time to working with terminally ill patients.

UAB Hospital is one of the few in the Southeast to have an inpatient palliative care unit. Music therapist Sunny Davenport at UAB Hospital says her therapy department added a third employee due to the volume of music therapy requests from the palliative doctors.

Carolyn Dobson, executive director of Hospice of the Valley in Decatur, praises UAB's music therapy department.

She says music therapy is a valuable asset as in providing holistic care for a patient at the end of their lives.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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