woman playing the harp


When someone you love is suffering from a serious illness, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to comfort that person, to take away some of the pain and anxiety. Providence offers a special service called music-thanatology, also called prescriptive music, to help your loved one relax and cope with the symptoms they’re experiencing.

Clear. Crisp. Peaceful and flowing. With music-thanatology, the soothing sounds of live harp music and soft singing will help your loved one rest more comfortably.

At Providence, we offer music-thanatology to patients who are very ill or at the end of their lives. Our specially trained performers tailor their music and voice to respond to a patient's changing condition and vital signs. The gentle music relieves anxiety and helps patients cope with pain, breathing difficulty and sleeplessness. Through music, we offer patients and families a sense of peace and serenity.

Music-thanatology, or prescriptive music, is a type of palliative care that provides physical, emotional and spiritual comfort for:   

  • People battling a serious or terminal illness 
  • People for whom life support has just been removed 
  • Family members and friends who are there to support the patient 
  • Anyone can request prescriptive music – patients, family members or healthcare providers. 

Prescriptive music offers many potential benefits. The music: 

  • Eases fear, sadness and anger
  • Helps patient sleep or rest more comfortably
  • Lessens pain
  • Provides deep relaxation
  • Provides physical, emotional and spiritual comfort 
  • Reduces anxiety and agitation
  • Relieves respiratory distress

Family members and friends find the music sessions to be comforting too.