Feasibility of a Music System Intervention to Affect Mental Stress and Strain of Employees in Inpatient Dementia Care


Annals of Work Exposures and Health




OBJECTIVES: If family caregivers participate with people with dementia in group music therapies, their mental stress can be reduced. The interventions investigated this context are often limited to active music therapies in groups, which do not consider the inclusion of formal caregivers. In the presented study, a music system was implemented in the routine nursing care of a dementia residential community. Aiming to investigate the use and the effects of the music system on employees' mental stress and strain, hypotheses were derived, which, for the first time, qualitatively describe this connection. METHODS: A controlled feasibility study with pretests and posttests was conducted. Two residential areas of an inpatient care facility for people with dementia participated as an intervention and control groups-these included 28 residents and 18 employees. In the intervention phase, the employees of the intervention group used the music systems during nursing activities and the operations were saved in log files. Mental stress and strain were recorded six times using the BGWmiab questionnaire. In the questionnaire part on mental stress, typical stress factors were assessed, while the part on mental strain records the extent of seven typical symptoms of overstrain. RESULTS: The music systems were used 1.6 (±1.3) times per day and per resident, dependent on the residents (P < 0.05, n = 13). Changes in total mental stress and strain scores could not be determined. Regarding the strain symptoms, scores of work motivation, fatigue, and aversions decreased. Seventy-one percent of the employees stated an improved daily work routine. The strain changes in employees of the intervention group correlated significantly with their work experience (r = 0.73, P = 0.04, n = 8). CONCLUSIONS: Eight hypotheses on the usage and effect of music systems were generated. These did not represent an additional stress factor and affected single strain symptoms. In addition, the study highlighted a positive impact that the music systems had on the employees' perception of stress. This is the first time that the positive effects of receptive music interventions on mental stress and strain of formal caregivers are described. Further investigations with an increased frequency of use of the music systems should validate and specify the findings and hypotheses.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Fatigue; Healthcare Professionals; Long-Term Care Facility; Mental Health; Music and Healing; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychological Outcomes; Questionnaires; Stress

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Feasibility Studies; Inpatients; Occupational Exposure; Quality of Life; aversions; behavioral and psychological symptoms; caregiver; fatigue; work motivation

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

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