Music and Memory Program Decreased Need for Antipsychotic Treatment in Dementia 

  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Dementia

Researchers at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis found that personalized music programming is associated with a reduction in the amount of antipsychotic medication taken by nursing home residents. Individuals who had personalized playlists also had fewer distressed behaviors. Results are from a study (NCT03821844) published in the Journal for Post-acute and Long-term Care Medicine (JAMDA)

A 3-year study of 4,107 participants living in 265 California nursing homes found the use of antipsychotic drugs declined by 13% and antianxiety medications declined by 17% each quarter for participants with dementia using the music program. The odds of depressive symptoms decreased 16% per quarter and the odds of reported pain decreased 17% per quarter. In addition, the number of days on medications declined by 30% and aggressive behaviors reduced by 20%.

"This study provides further evidence of the positive impact personalized music programs can have for those with AD and dementia - not only on improved quality of life but also on the cost and quality of caring," said Concetta Tomaino, DA, LCAT, MT-BC, Music and Memory Board Member.

Considering the large number of participants (n=4,107), these data strongly suggest that personalized music reduces negative outcomes. Adoption of the Music and Memory program may contribute to positive outcomes and quality of care for those living with Alzheimer disease (AD) and other forms of dementia and cognitive loss. 

Music and Memory is a nonprofit organization that creates personalized music playlists for individuals in nursing homes and other long-term care organizations, who  live with a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges, to find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through music-triggered memories. The program works to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in all populations and improve quality of life. Music and Memory has been adopted by more than 5,000 healthcare organizations in the US and has been adopted as state policy in 22 states.

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