Dementia patients prescribed music in NHS trial
A test undertaken by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on dementia patients has found an algorithm that “prescribes” songs based on listeners’ tastes and backgrounds has resulted in reductions in heart rate of up to 22 per cent, in some cases lowering distress and agitation.
The trust are now extending the trials to medical staff who worked in critical care during the pandemic to see if it can ease stress and anxiety. It is also planning to test it on needle-phobic children, recovering critical care patients and outpatients coping with chronic pain in the hope of reducing opiate prescriptions.
The trust said that the initial trial of 25 people with Alheimer’s with ages ranging from their 60s to their 90s has shown some promising results.
Dr Jacqueline Twamley, academic research and innovation manager, said “There has been an up to 22% reduction in heart rates in these patients. Some people it doesn’t affect the heart rate at all, but you can see the effect in their facial expressions and in them tapping along. One patient burst out crying. He said the song brought back happy memories and they were happy tears.”
The technology aims to build on research showing the effectiveness of using music to manage chronic pain, and on managing depression and anxiety in dementia patients.
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