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Individuals living in residential aged care facilities with cognitive decline are at risk of social isolation and decreased wellbeing. These risks may be exacerbated by decline in communication skills. There is growing awareness that group singing may improve sense of wellbeing for individuals with dementia. However, to date few studies have examined broader rehabilitative effects on skills such as communication of individuals with dementia.
To determine the feasibility and acceptability of the MuSic to Connect (MuSiCON) choir and language/communication assessment protocol in people with cognitive impairment living in non-high-care wards of a residential facility.
Six individuals with mild-moderate cognitive impairment participated (age range 55–91 years, five female, one male). A mixed method approach was used. Quantitative outcomes included attendance rates, quality of life and communication measures. The qualitative measure was a brief survey of experience completed by participants and carers post-intervention.
Overall, MuSiCON was perceived as positive and beneficial, with high attendance, perception of improved daily functioning and high therapeutic benefit without harmful effects. While there was no reliable change in communication skills over the course of the six-week intervention, most participants successfully engaged in the conversational task, suggesting it is a suitable and ecologically valid method for data collection
The MuSiCON protocol demonstrated feasibility and was well received by participants and staff at the residential facility. A co-design approach is recommended to improve upon feasibility, acceptability and validity of the assessment protocol prior to Phase II testing.
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