Music Therapy and End-of-Life Care for Adults: Evidence and Best Practices (Keynote)

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Photo of Amy Clements-Cortes

Amy Clements-Cortes, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC is Assistant Professor, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto; & Music Therapy Instructor and Supervisor, Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a credentialed Music Therapist, Registered Psychotherapist and a Fellow in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, as well as in Neurologic Music Therapy. Amy has extensive clinical experience working with clients across the life span, with a specialty in older adults, dementia and palliative care. She has authored multiple peer reviewed publications, including “Voices of the Dying and Bereaved,” and she has given over 200 conference and/or invited academic presentations. Her research contributions have had a significant impact in the understanding of understudied phenomenon, resulting in excelled treatments and services provided by professionals in music and medicine. This includes: relationship completion for individuals at end-of-life, vibroacoustic therapy and singing protocols for persons with dementia (PWD), as well as experiences in music therapy internships. Amy is Research & Ethics Chair of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), and Managing Editor of the Music and Medicine journal. She is a former President of the WFMT and Canadian Association for Music Therapists, and serves on the editorial review boards for 8 International journals including the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease.

Internationally, palliative care perspectives and practices are evolving; and as an innovative and holistic approach, music therapy is continually gaining recognition as an official treatment for individuals who are dying. In this presentation, Amy Clements-Cortés will accentuate the current state of music therapy practice and research with adults receiving end-of-life care. With a focus on the emergent themes of music therapy practice which highlight its ability to address physical, psychosocial, as well as spiritual and whole-person care needs at end-of-life, Clements-Cortés will discuss best practices and reflect on next steps and future research. A special area of focus will be on the benefits of music therapy for relationship completion and the potential of music therapy in procedures offering Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). The inclusion of an eclectic music therapy approach will be discussed as a way to provide a holistic and comprehensive approach to the care of the dying.