Individualized music played for agitated patients with dementia: Analysis of video-recorded sessions

Authors


Hans Ragneskog, Institute of Nursing, Göteborg University, Billerudsgatan 1, SE-416 75 Göteborg, Sweden. Email: hans.ragneskog@fhs.gu.se

Abstract

Many nursing home patients with dementia suffer from symptoms of agitation (e.g. anxiety, shouting, irritability). This study investigated whether individualized music could be used as a nursing intervention to reduce such symptoms in four patients with severe dementia. The patients were video-recorded during four sessions in four periods, including a control period without music, two periods where individualized music was played, and one period where classical music was played. The recordings were analysed by systematic observations and the Facial Action Coding System. Two patients became calmer during some of the individualized music sessions; one patient remained sitting in her armchair longer, and the other patient stopped shouting. For the two patients who were most affected by dementia, the noticeable effect of music was minimal. If the nursing staff succeed in discovering the music preferences of an individual, individualized music may be an effective nursing intervention to mitigate anxiety and agitation for some patients.

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