A Program Using Environmental Manipulation, Music Therapy Activities, and the Somatron© Vibroacoustic Chair to Reduce Agitation Behaviors of Nursing Home Residents With Psychiatric Disorders

Chesley Mercado
Eduardo Mercado


Agitation is a behavior frequently associated with residents of nursing home facilities, especially persons with diagnoses of dementia or associated brain disorders. Agitated behaviors can affect the entire facility and have the potential to impact overall quality of life. Finding positive, non-pharmaceutical, interventions to control agitation is a challenge for health care professionals. This study describes a program using multiple interventions of environmental noise reduction, controlled background music, individualized receptive and active music therapy, and vibroacoustic sessions with the Somatron. The program was implemented for 6 months and included 2 interventions. The first intervention was to manipulate the facility environment. The second intervention was to identify residents not responding to the environmental manipulation and refer them to music therapy. Three residents were referred during the intervention period. An original assessment instrument Somatron Placement Matrix was developed to assign residents to individualized music therapy sessions, Somatron sessions, or a combination of the two. Results indicated a reduction of 82% in accidents/incidents, 91% reduction of PRN medication, 36% reduction in STAT orders by physicians, and a reduction of unplanned staff absences of 44% during the intervention period. Case study information (n = 1) of individualized music therapy sessions resulted in a 100% decrease of 2 identified agitation behaviors, 71% decrease in one identified behavior, and 11% decrease in one behavior. Case study information of the Somatron sessions (n = 2) resulted in none of the baseline agitation behaviors being present and an increase in positive behaviors of closing eyes during sessions, coherent verbalizations during sessions, and an increase in positive verbalizations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)