Going Deep, Going Wide: Exploring a need-based service delivery model for paediatric music therapy services

Dr Jeanette Kennelly1, Ms Erin Crighton1, Ms Maybelle Swaney2, Ms Angela Delaney1, Ms Erin Munn1, Ms Serena Eakin1

1Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2Women’s & Children’s Hospital , Adelaide, Australia

Paediatric music therapy services in Australia have developed over the past 30 years however little is known about the models of care which inform service delivery in these settings. Recent survey findings of music therapists working in paediatric medical settings in the United States (Knott, Biard, Nelson, Epstein, Robb & Ghetti, 2020), suggest the use of a needs-based public health model to guide service delivery. The Pediatric Psychosocial Preventative Health Model (PPPHM) (Kazak, 2006) is a biopsychosocial framework presented as a three-tiered conceptual model for providing services for hospitalised children and their families based on the level of need. Knott and colleagues suggested that prioritisation of music therapy referrals could be guided by such a model for providing a wider range of music therapy and music therapy-informed services in order to meet a broader range of needs for children and their families.

In 2020, music therapy departments from two tertiary paediatric hospitals in Australia commenced a review of service delivery following inability to provide an equitable service with current staffing in each organisational context. Outcomes from these reviews included a proposed change in music therapy service delivery informed by the PPPHM and planning for the development of indicators for intervention, prioritisation tools, and triage processes.

This paper will present the proposed paediatric music therapy service model as informed by the PPPHM across three intervention levels of care: universal, targeted and clinical/treatment. The presentation will include examples of service delivery according to each level of care and evaluation considerations for stakeholders.


Dr Jeanette Kennelly is the Clinical Lead in Music Therapy at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. Jeanette is an experienced clinician, academic and supervisor who is well published in the fields of paediatric music therapy and professional supervision. Jeanette’s areas of clinical interest include paediatric intensive care, end of life care and adult oncology. Jeanette held the position of Honorary Research Fellow with the School of Music, University of Queensland (2015-2020) and is currently developing supervision guidelines as part of the Australian Music Therapy Association’s Supervision Working Group to support Registered Music Therapists in their professional practice.

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