Lessons Learned from the Statewide Implementation of the Music & Memory Program in Nursing Homes in Wisconsin in the Usa

J. Kwak
J. H. Ha
K. O'Connell Valuch


The movement of evidence-based interventions into institutional settings such as nursing homes is challenging. Among ecopsychosocial interventions to address behavioral problems of nursing home residents with dementia, Music and Memory, a popular intervention that provides individualized music listening, has shown potential to improve residents' quality of life. In Wisconsin in the USA, the Music and Memory program has been implemented in nursing home facilities statewide. In the present study, to examine facilitators and barriers related to implementation and sustainability of the Music and Memory program, all nursing homes in Wisconsin were invited to participate in a survey (online or mail). A total of 161 facilities participated, representing a response rate of 41%. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were conducted. Over 80% of responding facilities were providing the Music and Memory program, and 86% of those facilities planned to continue its use. The majority of respondents found Music and Memory to be beneficial to residents, but they also reported that the program was not equally effective for everyone and that it was time and labor intensive. Barriers to sustainability included lack of buy-in by direct care staff, use of technology, costs of equipment, inconsistency of volunteers, and families not supportive or helpful. Facilitators included support of facility personnel, family, and volunteers; observing positive effects of program; Music and Memory training provision and support; and accessibility of equipment. For the program to be successful, facilities must identify the residents most likely to benefit from it, realistically estimate its costs and required labor, and ensure staff buy-in.