Project Description

This study uses a cost effective non-pharmacological intervention, that being music therapy to improve quality of life (QOL) in people with dementia. Dementia results in a decline in mood and cognitive functioning and the emergence of behaviour problems that include aggressive acts, agitation, and sleep-wake and rest-activity pattern disturbance. Aggressive behaviour is a common burden for caregivers in residential and family care. The subsequent stress that aggression places on caregivers can lead to staff and family burn out, an increase in restraint use, and decreased quality of care. Research suggests that disruptive behaviours are recognised as a predictor in staff resignation and carer stress, both of which add significantly to the current costs of aged care. This project therefore has the potential to benefit both people living with dementia and their carers. The positive outcomes of music on people of all ages and health status have been established in various clinical settings. Recent research suggests that music therapy may be useful in the management of disruptive behaviours in people with dementia. Music therapy for people with dementia has the potential to improve their quality of life (QOL) through an improvement in depression, and a reduction in aggression and agitation. This study will investigate the effect of a live music program (where participants use their voices and instruments to perform and create music) on agitated behaviours in older people with dementia. It will provide evidence contributing to better understandings about music therapy and its contribution to QOL and disruptive behaviours in people with dementia that can be transferred to other settings such as the community and home based care of people with dementia.

Project Timeline

2008-09-01 to 2009-09-01