Date Presented 04/22/2023

A survey design explored OT practitioners’ use and perceived benefits of music as a modality for persons with dementia (PWD). Improved social participation, leisure, rest, and sleep and fewer sundown behaviors were notable benefits (N = 89).

Primary Author and Speaker: Sarah Corey

Additional Authors and Speakers: Melinda Cozzolino

Contributing Authors: Carly Jo Hosbach-Cannon

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore occupational therapy practitioners use of music and its perceived effects on occupational participation and behavior for persons with Dementia (PWD).

DESIGN: This study used a quantitative survey design

METHOD: A researcher designed anonymous on-line Qualtrics survey was used. The survey consisted of multiple choice, multi-select, and visual analog scales. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS: 73 Occupational Therapists and 16 occupational therapy assistants (N=89) completed the survey. 84% of respondents reported that they use music in therapy and believe it changes occupational participation. Using visual analoge scales as a measure with a range of 0-100, respondents reported a 69.11% mean change in occupational participation and 69.96% mean change in mood following treatment with music. The occupational domains (OTPF-4) subjects noted the most changes were in Social Participation (86.67%), Leisure (80%), Rest and Sleep (37.33%), ADLs: Feeding (27%). The most commonly employed methods of using music were dancing/moving to it (81%), listening (76%), background (69%) and reminiscing (62%). Further anayisis of the top rated occupational domains found that Dancing/Moving to music were the most employed method of using music for the Social Participation (83.08%) and Leisure (78.46%). 46% of respondents reported using music for PWD who have Sundown Syndrome. Of these 51.56% reported a perceived change in Sundown Syndrome behaviors when music is used.

CONCLUSION: Occupational Therapy Practioners are using music as a modality for PWD. Respondents perceived using music, most notably when combined with movement, as enhancing occupational participation in the areas of social participation, leisure, rest and sleep, and feeding. A decrease in sundowning behaviors was reported. Music as a modality, when combined with movement has perceived benefits in occupational participation for persons with dementia.


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