The Impact of Caregivers' Singing on Expressions of Emotion and Resistance During Morning Care Situations in Persons With Dementia: An Intervention in Dementia Care


Journal of Clinical Nursing







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Aims and objectives: The aim was to describe expressions of emotions and resistiveness to care among persons with dementia (PWD), during morning care situations without and with music therapeutic caregiving (MTC). Background: Effective caregiving is dependent on the interpersonal relationship between nurse and patient. PWD suffer from major cognitive impairment, making interaction with others problematic. Such patients often react with problematic behaviours such as resistance and anger towards the care activity and the caregiver. Earlier research suggests that MTC – when caregivers sing for or together with PWD during caregiving—can reduce resistance and evoke positive emotions in PWD. Design: This was an intervention study whereby MTC was implemented during morning care situations while PWD were being cared for. Method. The study included ten, 66–92-year-old men and women with severe dementia living in a nursing home in Sweden. Video observations of eight weekly sessions, consisting of four recordings of usual morning care and four recordings of morning care with MTC, provided data. The resistiveness to care scale and the observed emotion rating scale were used for analysis. Results: Pull away was the most common resistant behaviour under both conditions. The PWDs’ expressions of resistant behaviour, such as pull away, grab object and adduction, were significantly reduced under the intervention situation. Positively expressed emotions, specifically pleasure and general alertness, significantly increased under the MTC intervention compared with the ‘usual’ morning care sessions. Conclusions: MTC can be an effective nursing intervention to provide PWD a more pleasant experience of morning care situations as it decreases resistant behaviour and increases positive emotions. Relevance to clinical practice. MTC offers a potential non-pharmacologic treatment that can be used in caring for PWD. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Anger; Caregivers; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Interpersonal Relations; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychological Outcomes

Indexed Terms

persons with dementia; dementia care; music therapeutic caregiving; caregivers; cognitive impairment; Elderly; Elderly; Dementia; Emotions; Sweden; Therapeutic Processes; Caregiving

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods


Music Therapy

Document Type