The use of music intervention in nursing practice for elderly dementia patients: A systematic review

Hu li za zhi The journal of nursing 04/2014; 61(2):84-94. DOI: 10.6224/JN.61.2.84
Source: PubMed


Although music therapy is now applied widely as an intervention for elderly dementia patients, the effectiveness of this therapy is not yet well understood.
This study conducts a systematic review of clinical studies that address the effectiveness of music therapy in elderly dementia patients.
Databases including MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, ProQuest, EBMR, CINAHL, and CEPS were searched for relevant articles published between 2004 and 2013 using the key words "music" or "music therapy" with "dementia". An initial 272 original articles were identified. Applying inclusion criteria and excluding duplications left 18 articles that used randomized controlled trials to assess the effectiveness of music therapy in elderly participants for further analysis and synthesis.
Music therapy was found effective at improving cognitive functions, mental symptoms, and eating problems. However, this therapy was not found effective at improving irritable behavior. Type of music and method of presentation were the most important factors affecting results. Most studies (61.1%) used songs familiar to ÷ favored by the participants; most studies delivered 30-minute interventions twice weekly; and most studies used a therapy duration of 6 hours. Finally, most studies (77.8%) had music therapy sessions performed by either music therapists or trained healthcare providers.
This study supports that music therapy is an effective nursing intervention for elderly dementia patients. The authors hope that findings are a helpful reference for clinical nurses to develop practical music therapy procedures and protocols.

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Available from: Tsuey-Yuan Huang, Oct 22, 2014