imagine 2017

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The Effect of NICU Music Therapy on the Symptoms of Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Michael R. Detmer, MME, MT-BC, University of Louisville, Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital; Darcy DeLoach, Ph.D., MT-BC, University of Louisville; K. Dawn Forbes, MD, MS, FAAP Norton Children’s Neonatology; Rebekah Gossom, MS, CCC, SLP, Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky

Abstract The purpose of this clinical quality improvement project was to compare and determine the effects of comfort care versus music therapy on the symptoms of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Participants (N = 20) were newborns admitted to a regional level-3 NICU who met the project’s inclusion criteria and were randomized to a control or experimental group. The control group received standard care using a standard pacifier (orange GumDropTM). The experimental group received music therapy using the Pacifier Activated Lullaby (PAL®) 3-4 times per week throughout their hospital stay. Researchers retrieved symptom data from each patient’s

imagine 8(1), 2017

electronic medical record including three Finnegan scores prior to and after each intervention. When the average Finnegan scores for the three assessments after the intervention were compared between groups, a significant difference was found (M experimental = 64.2, M control = 75.3, U = 2759.5, p = .05). Based on pilot data, staff observations, and previous documentation of clinical outcomes (Hamm & Walworth, 2013), music therapy may be an effective adjunct treatment to decrease withdrawal symptoms in newborns with in-utero drug exposure.