Effectiveness-Implementation Cluster RCT to Improve Community-dwelling Early Dementia Patients by Music Intervention

2018-07-10 09:17:10 | BioPortfolio


This is a 12-week cluster randomized controlled trial utilizing music-with-movement (MWM) intervention compared with usual care to investigate the effect of MWM among subjects with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment implemented by their caregivers at home.


Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder and it can adversely affect patient's cognitive, behavioural, social and emotional functioning. Its prevalence will increase continuously because of the increase in aging population and it is predicted that around 333,000 people in Hong Kong (equivalent to 11% population aged 60 or above) will suffer from dementia in year 2039. The gradual functional decline, communication difficulties, the behavioural symptoms associated with cognitive impairment, may affect the relationships with the family members and the wellbeing. A latest Cochrane Review commented that music-based intervention may be helpful to improve emotional wellbeing and quality of life according to some limited evidences, as well as depressive symptoms, although future studies with larger sample sizes and more rigorous research design are suggested

In 2014 - 2016, our team has modified a music-with-movement intervention designed for nursing home residents with moderate dementia, into a protocol specified for caregiver-delivered home-based intervention to promote the psychosocial wellbeing of people with early dementia in Hong Kong. We found that the dyadic music-with-movement intervention yielded significant reduction on anxiety levels of people with early dementia as compared to control group. Similar, Särkämö and colleagues also found that caregiver-implemented music intervention group have reduced depression of people with early dementia and reduced caregiver burden. With the strong evidence that music intervention is useful in improving the wellbeing of people with early dementia and their family caregiver, it is essential to disseminate the culture-appropriated and validated intervention for promoting health and evaluate its effectiveness in real-practice setting by implementation research.

This research is anchored by a conceptual framework of leisure and subjective wellbeing. This framework explained that through participating in activities outside the obligated works (either paid or unpaid) that is subjectively regarded as leisure, would lead to an improvement of well-being through five psychological mechanisms, namely detachment-relaxation, autonomy, mastery, meaning and affiliation. Caregivers and care-recipients are found relaxed after participating in music intervention because they are temporary detached from the everyday caregiving chaos. Participating in an intervention designed by the participants themselves would increase their sense of autonomy and mastery. During the dyadic music intervention, the caregivers and people with MCI/early dementia would design their activities within the music-with-movement framework after instruction of music therapist that allow them to exercise their choices based on their music preference. Through the interaction in the dyadic intervention, it has been found that through participating in dyadic music intervention, people with dementia and their caregivers have improved in relationship and social inclusiveness. Caregivers would feel their competence or mastery in the skills when leading music intervention. Staff and caregivers reported that activities that address the psychological needs, provide enjoyment, value individuality, reinforce a sense of identity and belonging are meaningful to people with dementia. Therefore, we hypothesized that dyadic music-with-movement intervention would improve the subjective wellbeing of both the people with MCI/early dementia and their caregiver, if there are relevant implementation strategies to increase the ease of uptake of the intervention. For example, stress of caregivers could be relieved by successful music intervention.

When the aim is to maximize the uptake of the intervention in the real-life settings as a routine, we have to examine the influence of contextual factors on implementation. Hence, this study have three main objectives:

1. To test the effectiveness of the dyadic music-with-movement intervention on wellbeing of people with MCI/early dementia, and of their caregivers in real-life settings;

2. To conduct a process evaluation of the effectiveness-implementation study by gathering information on the implementation process; and

3. To validate and extend the applicability of "Leisure & Wellbeing" conceptual framework to the dyads.

In this project, one of the implementation strategies to maximize the uptake of the music intervention by the dyads, is to train a team volunteers to support the caregivers and people with MCI/early dementia, which is a unique group of population. There is a general lack of knowledge and inappropriate attitude towards dementia or Alzheimer's disease worldwide. In Hong Kong, it was reported that university students majoring in medicine, nursing, occupational therapy and social work showed inadequate knowledge towards this group of patients. By providing training for volunteers to support participating dyads, it would be able to provide a better understanding on dementia and create a supportive community for dementia. Therefore, we will explore the changes in the following outcomes of the volunteers:

4. To examine the change of knowledge and attitudes towards dementia of the volunteers before and after participating in the project; and

5. To examine the change of satisfaction and motivation to volunteering before and after participating in the project.

Study Design




Music-with-movement, Usual care


School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong
Hong Kong




The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2018-07-10T09:17:10-0400

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