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Good, Bucy, Elson & Drescher, attorneys at law

UCDavis School of Nursing Using Music to Improve Dementia Care

A few weeks ago (2/9/16), I wrote about the power of music and how it activates all parts of the brain, unlike any other activity. I am thrilled to report that the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis will collaborate with the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF) to conduct research to improve dementia care.

The three-year project is called “CAHF Improving Dementia Care through Music & Memory” and will use iPods with nursing home residents as a way of re-introducing them to their favorite, personalized music to improve their daily lives. As seen in the documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, creating personalized playlists for nursing home residents reawakened them like nothing else had prior.

The focus of the study is to determine if familiar tunes can reduce the need for medication and improve the quality of life for the residents. While many short-term studies suggest positive outcomes, this 36-month study will help determine if the practice can be sustained and works longer term and reduce the use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia.

The program received a $1.4 million grant to distribute Music & Memory iPods and personalized playlists to 4,500 residents across 300 nursing homes in California. Funding for the grant comes from civil monetary penalties and fines collected in California for nursing home violations.

There are three parts to the study:

  1. Evaluation by the UCD team to determine if the program works and how nursing homes implement it.
  2. Independent testing by researchers of two to three Quality Assurance Performance Improvement tools to support implementation of the program. This is essentially a roadmap required by nursing homes to improve the quality of life, care, and services.
  3. Study, documentation, and reporting on organizational factors present in the success or failure of the adoption and sustainment of Music & Memory in the participating facilities.

According to Debra Bakerjian, one of the UCD researchers, “California is a microcosm of the rest of the nation in terms of diversity, its population of older adults and the number of nursing homes that operate throughout the state,” making it an ideal place to conduct the study. Music & Memory has programs to help set up their system in both private homes and in assisted living facilities. Of course, you may also contact me – I would be honored to help you in any way I can through your journey.

Cheri Elson
Gray Matters Consulting

For more information on the study, and to learn more about Music & Memory:
UCD School of Nursing Study
Music & Memory

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Good, Bucy & Elson, Attorneys at Law

Robert W. Good, Attorney at Law
Scott C. Bucy, Attorney at Law
Jo Hanna Dorris, Paralegal