Music therapists' perceptions of the effects of environmental sound on skilled nursing facility residents with dementia.
Bapst, Renee E.
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SubjectMusic therapy for older people.; Music Therapy -- methods.; Memory Disorders -- therapy; Dementia.; Noise -- Health aspects.
The purpose of this descriptive survey study was to investigate music therapists’ perceptions of environmental sound on skilled nursing facility residents with dementia. Participants (N=43) were Board-Certified Music Therapists who work, or have worked, in skilled nursing facilities, and members of the American Music Therapy Association. A total of 15 questions were devised and electronically mailed to participants. Survey questions were categorized as follows: (i) demographic information of participants; (ii) music therapists’ awareness of environmental sound (iii) what type of facility the participants currently work or have worked in with adults with dementia; (iv) environmental sounds heard regularly in facility; (v) what time of day/during what period these sounds are heard; (vi) typical behaviors of adults with dementia; (vii) perceived opinion on relationship between increase of environmental sounds and increase in resident behavior; (viii) the music therapists’ role in reducing environmental sound and the facility’s policies on this matter, or lack thereof. Results revealed that an overwhelming 81.4% (n=35) were “Very aware” of environmental sounds in their facility, while 16.3 % (n=7) were “Somewhat aware”, and only 1 (2.3%) respondent was “Not aware”. In regards to the perceived relationship of increased environmental sound and increased negative behavior, the study found that (n=1) respondent is "highly unlikely" while 14% (n=6) said the relationship is "somewhat likely", 37.2% (n=16) said likely, 44.2% (n=19) highly likely, and (n=1) respondent chose "no answer". Overall,the results favored a likely relationship between perceived increased environmental sound and increased negative behavior. This study also indicated that 83% (n=36) of participants work or have worked at facilities where there is no enforced policy on regulating the sound environment. Participants were asked to provide music therapy interventions that they use with addressing negative behaviors in adults with dementia. Limitations and implications for further research are noted.