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This hospice therapy comes with songs and massage

February 02, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Mark Randall / South Florida…)

Patients at the end of their lives often receive their final care from hospice workers. Contrary to what the haven't-really-though-about-it-crowd might suspect, not all such care involves administering drugs.

Hospice therapists in Florida team up to use a combination of music and massage to treat dying patients such as Bernard Michels, 98. He, for one, sees the merits. "It brings back memories of when I was a younger guy," he says in a South Florida Sun Sentinel story.

The music-massage approach delivers more than a passing feel-good emotion. Therapists say it also alleviates pain, anxiety and depression. This weekend, hospice therapists will be sharing what they've learned at a conference devoted to what some might consider "alternative" treatments -- and what some might consider humane gestures. Find out more about hospice from the Hospice Foundation of America.

The practices aren't novel to Florida but rather reflect a wider trend, as the story says: 

"[H]ospices across the country have begun melding traditional medicine with these alternative techniques, based on patient requests and staff observations of their success. The complementary treatments also can include hypnotherapy, art therapy and healing touch."

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