Intended for healthcare professionals


Music in intensive care and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 13 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7481

“What passion cannot music raise and quell?” asked Dryden in his Song for St Cecilia’s Day, 1687. Currently, the main passion that music raises in Minerva is a desire to run out of Tesco when the loudspeakers start crooning “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” Imagine the hell of lying in intensive care on a ventilator while being fed the kind of music you really hate. A review in the American Journal of Critical Care (2013;22:528-32, doi:10.4037/ajcc2013998) looked at nine randomised trials that investigated the question “Does music ease pain and anxiety in the critically ill?” Mercifully, the authors conclude that “Patients should always be asked first if they would like to try listening to some music.” Minerva suggests writing some choices on your organ donor card.

The hectic weeks before and after Christmas in British general practice are times that try (wo)men’s souls. “But surely” you say, “a lot of these people could be seen by a nurse …

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