Effects of Live Music in Oncology Waiting Rooms: Two Mixed Methods Pilot Studies
Michael J. Silverman

Although music is frequently utilized in medical waiting rooms in an attempt to potentially decrease anxiety and enhance the environment, the mechanisms of how and why music might impact waiting rooms are not yet understood. More specifically, it is unclear how live music might affect environmental factors, patients, caregivers, staff, and the performing musicians. The purpose of these mixed methods pilot studies was to investigate the perceptions of patients, musicians, and staff members who experienced live music in gynecological oncology (Phase I) and chemotherapy (Phase II) waiting rooms. Using embedded mixed methods designs, the researchers collected quantitative data via a post-visit clinic survey concerning various measures of patients’ and caregivers’ experiences given live music (experimental group) or no music (control group). Qualitative data were collected via open-ended staff questionnaires, musicians’ reflexive journaling, focus groups including the researchers and staff supervisors, and an open-ended item on the patient survey. The researchers used an inductive approach to identify themes from qualitative data. Concerning quantitative results, there were no significant differences between control and experimental groups on any measure except “Overall Clinic Environment” in Phase I. In this measure, the experimental condition had a higher rating than the control condition. However, the assumption of homogeneity of variance was violated due to the small control group sample size. Emerging themes from qualitative data included: Live music distracted patients resulting in positive affective and physical changes; Staff experienced positive affective and environmental benefits of live music; Musician sensitivity, quality, and repertoire; Live music facilitated interaction and ensuing sense of community; and Appreciation and positive experiences. Staff members in both phases supported and recommended the continued use of live music in both waiting rooms. Patients, caregivers, staff members, and musicians tended to have positive perceptions of live music in the waiting rooms. Live music may facilitate increased interaction, positive affective changes, distractions from potentially stressful appointments, and appreciation. Limitations of the study, suggestions for future research, and implications for clinical practice are provided.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijmpa.v3n1a1