Person-Centred, Culturally Appropriate Music Intervention to Improve Psychological Wellbeing of Residents with Advanced Dementia Living in Australian Rural Residential Aged Care Homes

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Brain Sciences


This quasi-experimental, nonrandomized intervention study reports the effect of person-centred, culturally appropriate music on psychological wellbeing of residents with advanced dementia in five rural residential aged care homes in Australia. Seventy-four residents attended in person-centred music sessions and culturally appropriate group sessions. Interest, response, initiation, involvement, enjoyment, and general reactions of the residents were assessed using the Music in Dementia Assessment Scale (MiDAS), and interviews and focus groups were conducted with aged care staff and musicians. The overall effect of person-centred sessions at two-time points were: during the intervention—351.2 (SD 93.5); and two-hours post intervention—315.1 (SD 98.5). The residents presented a moderate to high level of interest, response, initiation, involvement, and enjoyment during the session and at post-intervention. However, the MiDAS sub-categories’ mean scores differed between the time-points: interest (t59 = 2.8, p = 0.001); response (t59 = 2.9, p = 0.005); initiation (t59 = 2.4, p = 0.019); and involvement (t59 = 2.8, p = 0.007), indicating a significant decline in the effect of person-centred music over time. Interestingly, during the period of time, most of the residents were observed with no exhibitions of agitation (87.5%), low in mood (87.5%), and anxiousness (70.3%), and with a presentation of relaxation (75.5%), attentiveness (56.5%), and smiling (56.9%). Themes from qualitative data collected regarding culturally appropriate group music sessions were behavioural change, meaningful interaction, being initiative, increased participation, and contentment. The findings suggest that the integration of music into care plans may reduce the residents’ agitation and improve their emotional wellbeing in rural aged care homes.

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