Music-based Interventions in the Acute Setting for Patients With Dementia: A Systematic Review

L. Sousa
B. Dowson
O. McDermott
J. Schneider
L. Fernandes


PURPOSE: The utilization of non-pharmacological interventions is increasingly recommended in dementia care. Among them, Music-based interventions seem promising options, according with numerous positive studies conducted in long-term care institutions. In this review, we aim to investigate its administration to patients with dementia in a less-researched setting-the acute hospital. METHODS: A systematic review (PROSPERO registration: 81698), according to PRISMA recommendations, was performed. Embase, PubMed, PsycINFO, ASSIA and Humanities Index were searched from first records to June 2019 and the search was updated in June 2020. Manual screening of journals, trial registries and grey literature was undertaken. Risk of bias was assessed with the Downs and Black (1998) checklist. RESULTS: 345 records were initially retrieved and nine complied with the inclusion criteria. Data on 246 acute inpatients (224 PwD), with a mean age (reported only in 4 studies) varying from 74.1 to 86.5 was presented. Interventions varied significantly and practical details of their administration and development were poorly reported. Overall, quantitative results indicate a trend towards a positive effect in well-being, mood, engagement/relationship and global cognitive function, as well as a reduction in BPSD, resistive care, utilization of pro re nata medication and one-on-one care. Qualitative data also demonstrates acceptability and positive effects of music-based interventions. CONCLUSION: Despite the lack of robust, adequately powered and controlled trials, identified studies suggest it is feasible to deliver music-based interventions, in the acute setting, to patients with dementia and there is a trend towards positive effects.