Relaxing Music at Mealtime in Nursing Homes: Effects on Agitated Patients With Dementia


Journal of Gerontological Nursing




Agitation in individuals with severe cognitive impairment is a significant problem that affects care and overall quality of life. Building on research conducted by Goddaer and Abraham (1994), this quasi-experimental study proposed that relaxing music played during meals would exert a calming effect and decrease agitated behaviors among nursing home residents with dementia. Thirty residents residing in a Special Care Unit participated in the 4-week study. The Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (Cohen-Mansfield, Marx, & Rosenthal, 1989) was used to gather data. Baseline data was obtained in Week 1 (no music). Music was introduced in Week 2, removed in Week 3, and reintroduced in Week 4. At the end of the 4-week study, overall reductions in the cumulative incidence of total agitated behaviors were observed. Reductions in absolute numbers of agitated behaviors were achieved during the weeks with music and a distinct pattern was observed.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Agitation; Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Elderly; Long-Term Care Facility; Mental Relaxation; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Relaxation; Symptom Management

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Behavioral Symptoms; Dementia; Geriatric Nursing; Nursing Homes; Psychomotor Agitation

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

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Document Type