Mark Ettenberger

Music Therapy During End-of-life Care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – Reflections from Early Clinical Practice in Colombia

Mark Ettenberger


Music therapy during end-of-life care has become an increasingly applied therapeutic option for a broad range of populations in a variety of settings. While music therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a well-established field of clinical research and practice, there is a lack of literature that specifically addresses issues related to end-of-life care in this setting. In this article, the author aims to reflect upon some of the potentials, difficulties, and challenges when accompanying babies and their families during their last stages of life in the NICU. Three case vignettes will be described in order to exemplify aspects related to rituality, culture, memory making, and family-centred care. It is hoped that these case studies prompt the exchange of ideas and experiences among music therapists and other health care professionals concerned with end-of-life care in the NICU.


end-of-life care; music therapy; NICU; preterm infants; palliative care; family-centred care; Colombia

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