Effect of Active Music Therapy and Individualized Listening to Music on Dementia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial
Year of Publication 2015
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of active music therapy (MT) and individualized listening to music (LtM) on behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSDs) in persons with dementia (PWDs). DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Nine Italian institutions. PARTICIPANTS: Persons with moderate to severe dementia and BPSDs (N = 120) were randomized to one of three treatments. INTERVENTIONS: All groups received standard care (SC), and two groups attended 20 individualized MT or LtM sessions, twice a week, in addition to SC. MEASUREMENTS: The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD), and Cornell-Brown Scale for Quality of Life in Dementia (CBS-QoL) were administered before treatment, after treatment, and at follow-up to evaluate behavioral and psychological outcomes. A specific coding scheme (Music Therapy Check List-Dementia) was used to evaluate the MT process. RESULTS: Behavioral assessment did not show significant differences between groups. All groups showed a reduction over time in NPI global score (P = .001), CSDD (P = .001), and CBS-QoL (P = .01). The NPI global score fell 28% in the MT group, 12% in the LtM group, and 21% in the SC group at the end of treatment. An exploratory post hoc analysis showed similar within-group improvements for the NPI Delusion, Anxiety, and Disinhibition subscales. In the MT group, communication and relationships between the music therapists and PWDs showed a positive albeit nonsignificant trend during treatment. CONCLUSION: The addition of MT or LtM to standard care did not have a significant effect on BPSDs in PWDs. Further studies on the effects of the integration of standard care with different types of music interventions on BPSD in PWD are warranted.