What research supports the Music Pharmacy program?

There is a growing body of research suggesting that music-based interventions can be beneficial in community and supported living healthcare settings including Cochrane reviews on music therapy and dementia (1) and evidence to suggest music promotes healthy ageing (2). Research has found our memory for music and the associated autobiographical memories and emotions are relatively preserved, even into the late stages of dementia (3-4).

The Utley Foundation funded the UK Commission of Dementia and Music (4) to explore and document the advancing and positive impacts of music for people living with dementia. This unique, ambitious and comprehensive piece of research offers industry and policy insight into the value of music in this context, with clear recommendations on how to advance the benefits of music and informs our approaches. As a result, in July 2019 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK updated their dementia care recommendations to include music therapy.

When creating personalised playlists we are sensitive to selecting music appropriate for the person, for the moment, to provide emotional support and for their state of mental wellbeing (5-10).

Furthermore, there is evolving research indicating music therapy skill sharing with family members and paid carers can support the quality of life and relationship for those giving and receiving care (11-15). This guides our Waltz Into Life approach to embedding music into our everyday care culture.

Research references

  1. Van der Steen, J. T., Smaling, H. J. A., van der Wouden, J. C., Bruinsma, M. S., Scholten, R. J. P. M., & Vink, A. C. (2018). Music-based therapeutic interventions for people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003477.pub4
  2. Rogenmoser, L., Kernbach, J., Schlaug, G., & Gaser, C. (2018). Keeping brains young with making music. Brain Structure and Function, 223(1), 297–305. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-017-1491-2
  3. Baird A, Samson S. Memory for music in Alzheimer’s disease: unforgettable? Neuropsychol Rev. (2009) 19:85–101. doi: 10.1007/s11065-009-9085-2
  4. Jacobsen JH, Stelzer J, Fritz TH, Chételat G, La Joie R, Turner R. Why musical memory can be preserved in advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Brain (2015) 138:2438–50. doi: 10.1093/brain/awv135
  5. Garrido, S., Stevens, C. J., Chang, E., Dunne, L., & Perz, J. (2018). Music and dementia: Individual differences in response to personalized playlists. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 64(3), 933–941. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-180084
  6. Garrido, S., Dunne, L., Chang, E., Perz, J., Stevens, C. J., & Haertsch, M. (2017). The Use of Music Playlists for People with Dementia: A Critical Synthesis. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-170612
  7. Gerdner, L. A. (2012). Individualized music for dementia: Evolution and application of evidence-based protocol. World Journal of Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v2.i2.26
  8. Juslin, P., Liljestrom, S., Vastfjall, D., & Lundqvist, L.-O. (2010). How Does Music Evoke Emotions? In P. Juslin (Ed.), Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Resrearch, Applications (1st ed., pp. 603–610). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof
  9. Annie Heiderscheit, Amy Madson, Use of the Iso Principle as a Central Method in Mood Management: A Music Psychotherapy Clinical Case Study, Music Therapy Perspectives, Volume 33, Issue 1, 2015, Pages 45–52, https://doi.org/10.1093/mtp/miu042
  10. Cuddy, L. L., Sikka, R., Silveira, K., Bai, S., & Vanstone, A. (2017). Music-evoked autobiographical memories (MEAMs) in alzheimer disease: Evidence for a positivity effect. Cogent Psychology, 4(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/23311908.2016.1277578
  11. Bowell, S, and Bamford, S. (2018) What would life be without a song or a sance, what are we? A Report from the Commission on Dementia and Music. The International Longevity Centre: London. Retrieved from https://ilcuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Commission-on-Dementia-and-Music-report.pdf
  12. Brown S, Götell E, Ekman S. Singing as a therapeutic intervention in dementia care. J Dementia Care (2001) 9:33–7.
  13. Götell E, Thunborg C, Söderlund A, Wågert PH. Can caregiver singing improve person transfer situations in dementia care? Music Med. (2012) 4:237–44.
  14. McDermott O, Mette Ridder H, Baker F, Wosch T, Ray K, Stige B. Indirect Music Therapy Practice and Skill Sharing in Dementia Care. Journal of Music Therapy. (2018) 55:255-279.
  15. Tamplin, J., Clark, I. N., Lee, Y. E. C., & Baker, F. A. (2018). Remini-sing: A feasibility study of therapeutic group singing to support relationship quality and wellbeing for community-dwelling people living with dementia and their family caregivers. Frontiers in Medicine, 5(AUG), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2018.00245