Exploring the use of music as an intervention for older people living in nursing homes
Evidence and practice    

Exploring the use of music as an intervention for older people living in nursing homes

Helle Wijk Professor, Caring Science and Health, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden
Merita Neziraj PhD student, Department of Care Science, Malmö University, Sweden
Åsa Nilsson Registered nurse, Research and Development, Skaraborgs Hospital, Sweden
Eva Jakobsson Ung Professor, Caring Science and Health, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand why enjoying cultural events such as music concerts is regarded as a human right

  • To enhance your understanding of why older people are often excluded from such events

  • To learn more about the health and well-being benefits of music for older people in nursing homes

Background Enjoying cultural events such as musical performances is a human right as well as contributing to quality of life. However, older people who live in nursing homes are often excluded from such events. Music interventions for older people with cognitive decline have been shown to have a positive effect on their mood and behaviour, particularly in terms of anxiety, agitation and irritability.

Aim To investigate the effect of musical interventions in nursing homes from the perspective of older people, their relatives and caregivers.

Method Musical performances were held at 11 nursing homes in Sweden. These performances were followed by semi-structured interviews that aimed to capture the experiences of the older people, their relatives and caregivers. The interviews were analysed by qualitative thematic analysis.

Findings Four relational themes were generated from the analysis: music enhances well-being for the body and soul, music evokes emotions and a ‘spark of life’, music adds a ‘silver lining’ to everyday life, and music inspires a journey of the imagination through time and space.

Conclusion The music concerts had a positive effect on older people, their relatives and caregivers. Providing cultural encounters in nursing homes is an important caring intervention.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1361

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

helle.wijk@gu.se

Conflict of interest

None declared

Wijk H, Neziraj M, Nilsson Å et al (2021) Exploring the use of music as an intervention for older people living in nursing homes. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1361

Acknowledgement

The research group would like to thank the older people, their families, staff and management, and Kulturarenan Syd and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for their contribution to the study. The Betania Foundation and the Kamprad Family Foundation provided research grants for this study. These foundations did not contribute to the research process

Published online: 13 October 2021

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