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17 The MusiCARER project: building capacity for high-quality research on the role of music therapy in supporting informal carers of people at end of life
  1. Kathryn Gillespie1,
  2. Lisa Graham-Wisener1,
  3. Noah Potvin2,
  4. Jenny Kirkwood3,
  5. Daniel Thomas4,
  6. Audrey Roulston5,
  7. Margaret Anderson6,
  8. Angela McCullagh7,
  9. Lorna Roche7 and
  10. Tracey McConnell8
  1. 1Centre for Improving Health-Related Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
  2. 2Mary Pappert School of Music and School of Nursing, Music Therapy, Duquesne University, USA
  3. 3Independent Researcher, UK
  4. 4CHROMA Therapies, UK
  5. 5School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
  6. 6Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems group, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
  7. 7Carer Advisory Group, MusiCARER Study, UK
  8. 8School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland, and Marie Curie Hospice Belfast, UK


Introduction Informal carers of people at end of life often experience emotional distress, and some experience complicated grief. Music therapy can offer flexible support pre- and post-bereavement which may mitigate risk factors including pre-bereavement depression, anxiety, and family conflict at end of life. However, research on improving outcomes is limited.

Aims Identifying research gaps and building research capacity regarding supporting carers of people at end of life; designing music therapy support for pre- and post-bereavement.

Method Phase 1: Systematic literature review (using Joanna Briggs Institute methodology for mixed-method segregated systematic reviews) on music therapy with informal carers of people at end of life, to synthesise and critically evaluate the evidence-base and identify gaps.

Phase 2: Expert stakeholder workshop using World Café approach with academics, music therapists, and other healthcare professionals.

Phase 3: Stakeholders (including bereaved individuals) will collaboratively design a music therapy intervention, adapted to the needs of carers, and that can be used within routine NHS care.

Results A study overview and outline of preliminary review findings (currently at data extraction stage) will be presented. The presentation will outline how experts may become involved in the World Café event (flexible and design principle-informed format to facilitate large group discussion, scheduled for May 2022) to develop an agenda for maximising research effectiveness and impact in this area.

Conclusion Findings will offer a systematically collated synthesis and critical evaluation of the evidence-base and a co-designed, tailored music therapy intervention, that can be used as part of routine NHS care.

Impact Conclusions will help develop a funding application to test the feasibility of our co-designed music therapy intervention, with the final aim of improving outcomes for informal carers of people at end of life.

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