Categories: Health

Music may ‘ease the pain of patients waiting for urgent surgery’

Music cushions for A&E! Giving patients waiting for emergency surgery a pillow with a built-in SPEAKER can ease their pain and anxiety, study claims

  • Danish experts assessed 30 people waiting for emergency surgery
  • They were given a pillow with a speaker while waiting for 30 minutes
  • The patients were then asked to rate their pain, relaxation and well-being from 0 to 10
  • Patients experienced a decrease in pain – from a mean score of 4.8 to 3.7
  • Similar benefits were seen when looking at relaxation and general well-being



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Lisa Antonsen, a nurse at Odense University Hospital in Denmark, who conducted the study. She is pictured holding the pillow with a speaker with an MP3 on it for 30 minutes during the waiting time

Music makes us laugh, dance and sing.

Now it can also be used to relieve the pain and anxiety of patients waiting for urgent surgery.

Patients waiting in the emergency room are less anxious, more relaxed and experience less pain when given a special music pillow to rest on, a study shows.

Experts assessed 30 people aged 18 to 93 who were awaiting surgery for health conditions such as appendicitis, bowel obstruction, abscess or inflammation of the gallbladder.

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They were all offered a pillow with a speaker with an MP3 player on it for 30 minutes during the waiting period.

Half of the patients were then asked to rate their pain, relaxation and well-being on a visual scale of 0 to 10.

Lisa Antonsen, a nurse at Denmark’s Odense University Hospital who conducted the study, found that patients experienced a decrease in pain from an average score of 4.8 to 3.7.

Relaxation was reported to improve from an average of 4.6 to 7.6, and feelings of general well-being increased from an average score of 4.3 to 6.6.

Ms Antonsen, who presented her findings at the European Emergency Medicine Congress, said she was inspired to conduct the study after noting that patients waiting for acute surgery were “often nervous and even anxious,” mainly because of the uncertainty that they didn’t know when to have surgery. would take place.

“I knew that music has positive effects on pain, relaxation and well-being in other healthcare settings, but it has never been tested before with patients waiting for acute surgery,” she said.

She described a woman in the emergency room in November 2020: “She was upset.

“Her face was tense and you could tell she’d just cried. She said it had been a rough day.

“During the music session, she lay quietly in bed with her eyes closed. When the music session ended, she said, “not yet.” Then she smiled at me. She seemed more at ease.’

Ms Antonsen added: ‘The statistical results showed a positive association between music and the self-reported pain, relaxation and general well-being of acute pre-operative patients.

‘For example, the music session caused an interruption of the acute hospital environment.’

She added that a larger study is needed to find out “whether music itself has an effect on pain, relaxation and general well-being.”

The music cushion used in Ms Antonsen’s pilot study is still used in her ER and she hopes to make it permanent.

Professor Youri Yordanov, from St. Antoine Hospital A&E in France and who was not involved in the study, said: ‘Emergency departments are stressful places for patients, who often arrive unexpectedly due to suddenly deteriorating conditions or accidents.

‘Initiatives like these, which seem to help reduce patients’ anxiety, as well as the pain they experience, are very welcome.

‘Music helps people relax at the best moments. Now this research suggests it can do the same in stressful times.”


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