Music-Thanatology

*This section is for educational purposes only. Music-Thanatology is brought to patients through hospices, hospitals and nursing care facilities as an integral part of end-of-life care.

Music-thanatology is a palliative care, or end-of-life discipline, which brings music to the bedside of people as they are dying in order to support the relief of both physical and spiritual suffering. Music-thanatology is delivered specifically through prescriptive music and requires the expertise of a trained musician-clinician to responsively play harp and sing for the dying person.

Music-thanatology deliveries can be contrasted with recorded music, which has no ability to respond to the needs of the patient, in the moment. There is evidence showing that it supports the alleviation of physiological pain, agitation, anxiety and insomnia for people nearing the end-of-life. This modality draws inspiration from monastic medicine where centuries ago they sought to link spiritual, medical, emotional and theological practices together in order to provide maximum compassionate support for the dying.

For more information on Music-thanatology please visit the Chalice of Repose Website at chaliceofrepose.org.

Here’s what a few people have to say about Heather Keller:

“I have had the privilege of working with Heather for many years now. We have appreciated her services in our hospital, where we have called upon her to offer comforting music to families facing real crises. Heather offers an exceptional sensitivity to the needs of families in these difficult situations. She brings a professionalism and respect for families, recognizing that every person is unique in how they respond to grief and loss. Heather is one of the first people I want to call when a family needs comfort. Her peaceful, calming music can speak to the heart more than any words of comfort can provide. I would recommend Heather’s musical skills and knowledge for anyone, whether they are the ones that are grieving or the ones that want to offer comfort to those facing loss.”
— Doernbecher Children's Hospital Staff

“ It is well researched that music for the hospitalized can help with the healing process.  The soothing and healing music of the harp as provided by Heather Keller has brought peace, calm and hope to the young patients and their parents at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The families and medical staff have found healing from her beautiful music. We are humbly grateful for the musical support, intuition and sensitivity Heather has shared with us here at the hospital”.
   — Doernbecher Children's Hospital Staff