Music & Memory Evaluation

Music & Memory uses music to encourage people with dementia to better engage with the world around them while reducing their dependence on antipsychotic drugs. Music has been proven to stimulate areas of the brain associated with memory, which often are the last to be affected by dementia.

Playlists tailored to each resident’s music preference are created and loaded onto iPods for selected nursing home residents.  They can listen to the iPods whenever they choose. Antipsychotic medication usage, mood and behavior are measured.

Texas Health and Human Services used Civil Money Penalty funds to certify 432 nursing homes in the Music & Memory program. The program was rolled out in 4 phases.

About the Evaluation

Texas Health and Human Services currently is evaluating the project.  The first report is expected in the summer of 2017, with the final report by early 2018.

The initial evaluation will measure the effect of Music & Memory on residents’ pain and anxiety levels, mood, use of antipsychotic medication, falls, and hospitalizations by reviewing residents’ Minimum Data Sets (MDS) assessments and their medication administration records (MARS) before, during and after Music & Memory implementation. 

Residents’ exposure to the music was tracked, including the number of times music was used during a week, each resident’s response, and their general behavior.

In some of the studies, staff retention and morale are/will be captured via facility hiring data and staff satisfaction surveys conducted before and after the program was implemented. 

Current Studies

The Quality Monitoring Program (QMP) is conducting a study on the effectiveness of Music &Memory.

All 4 phases of the study will evaluate the effect of listening to music on the mood, behavior and medication use of people residing in nursing homes, as well as the impact on staff morale and retention.

The 4 phases are:

  • The Initial Evaluation will include 32 nursing facilities in Texas that volunteered to participate in the pilot.
  • The Phase I Evaluation expands/will expand the initial evaluation by focusing on resident pain and anxiety levels, mood, and use of antipsychotic medication, falls, and hospitalizations. There are 92 self-nominated nursing facilities participating in this phase.
  • The Phase II Evaluation will concentrate/is concentrating on staff retention and satisfaction. There are 143 self-nominated nursing homes participating.
  • The Phase III Evaluation, which includes/will include 167 self-nominated facilities, will focus on resident pain and anxiety levels, mood, use of antipsychotics medication, falls, and hospitalizations.

How the Studies Work

At least 1 employee at each participating facility will complete Music & Memory Certification training. The certified employees will set up the iPods with each resident’s personalized music playlists.

Each facility will choose 15 residents to participation, with the consent of family members, if the resident can’t consent himself or herself.

Resident and staff information will be obtained before, during and after Music & Memory is implemented.

The study will use identifying client information to track their responsiveness to the intervention (listening to music) and merging it with personal health information such as data collected from MDS and MARs for measuring anti-psychotic medication use, pain levels, etc.

To protect resident privacy, reports will include only aggregate data.