Treatment with mechanical ventilation causes stress and anxiety that typically requires sedative and analgesic medications. Distinguished Research Lecturer for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), Chlan, summarizes her research on music intervention as a nonpharmacological method to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Her team has found:

  • Patient-directed music listening allows patients receiving mechanical ventilation (MVPs) to focus on something pleasant and not on the stressful experience.

  • MVPs who received music intervention had lower anxiety levels, required less frequent sedative medications, and reported improved sleep and comfort.

Chlan and colleagues also studied the feasibility of patient-controlled sedation. They found:

  • Self-administered dexmedetomidine was a feasible and safe intervention.

  • Many MVPs were comfortable with the procedure and attained relaxation without adverse effects.

Further study is needed, however these are promising and empowering alternatives to help adult MVPs to manage their own anxiety.

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