Benefits of a Comprehensive Evidence-Based NICU-MT Program: Family-Centered, Neurodevelopmental Music Therapy for Premature Infants
Twenty years of research demonstrate that multiple positive benefits accrue from Neonatal Intensive Care-Music Therapy (NICU-MT), an evidence-based, specialized training in music therapy, neurodevelopmental, family care intervention for premature infants. Research is now advanced enough to identify specific, detailed NICU-MT protocols, type of music, and expected outcomes appropriate for gestational age, neurodevelopmental responses, and sex of the infant. This article reviews the research in this area and describes 11 referral reasons and NICU-MT protocols for premature infants and four reasons for counseling/interaction training with their parents. Additionally, three protocols are described for following premature infants after discharge to assist parents with transition to home care. Because NICU-MTs are often requested to assist with treatment of the epidemic of inconsolable infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a research review for this treatment area and four evidence-based NICU-MT protocols to console and facilitate NICU treatment of NAS infants is also included.
Jayne M. Standley and Ciele Gutierrez