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Keywords:

  • behaviour;
  • dementia;
  • music;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • older people

Aims.  To study the effect of a music programme during lunchtime on problem behaviour among institutionalised older residents with dementia.

Background.  Symptoms of dementia among older people include depression, problems with memory, insomnia and problem behaviours. Problem behaviour has been identified by families and nurses as the greatest challenge that needs to be addressed. Several studies have found that music therapy can reduce problem behaviours among dementia sufferers and, based on this finding, music has been recommended for incorporation as part of dementia management.

Design.  This study used a quasi-experimental design with an eight-week time series follow-up. The intervention was background music when residents had their lunch meal.

Methods.  A purposive sampling technique was used. Forty-one participants were selected from an institution housing residents with dementia located in a city in Taiwan.

Results.  The mean age of participants was 81·68 (SD 6·39) years old. The mean score for Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was 10·66 (SD 6·85). The mean of Barthel Activity of Daily Living score was 56·83 (SD 38·12). The results showed that the music programme reduced, significantly, physical and verbal aggressive behaviour among the older residents with dementia. The study identified that there was a one-week time lag between the implementation of the music programme and a significant effect on the residents.

Conclusions.  The results from this study suggested that music is able to reduce the degree of problem behaviours among the older residents with dementia and this helps to ease work-load of nurse aides and nurses during meal times.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The results may serve as a reference for the future treatment of problem behaviour among the older with dementia.