Effects of Music in Reducing Disruptive Behavior in a General Hospital

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BACKGROUNDThere are few controlled studies in acute care of the effectiveness of distracting music in reducing the frequency of noise produced by dementing individuals.OBJECTIVEThe authors tested whether a randomized intervention of playing baroque music for 30-min periods would reduce the frequency of repetitive shouting and banging in elderly patients in a teaching hospital.STUDY DESIGNSingle case studies with 9 participants (7 females, 2 males), with a mean age of 82.7 years (SD = 7.44). Observations were made at different times of day for a minimum of four sessions. RESULTS: Trials with distracting music in seven cases had a reduced frequency of disruptive noises of from 89% to 63% from peak levels in control trials. In 2 participants with an extremely high frequency of incidents, the frequency of outbursts of noise was reduced by up to 31% on trials with music compared to control trials.CONCLUSIONSThe use of music to reduce disruptive noise in an acute care setting appears to be as effective as other such interventions have been in residential care facilities.

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