Why does music help in care?
Because it is cost-effective.
Music can reduce healthcare costs
- Decreases medicatiion
- Gives bang for your buck
- Relieves burden on the system
At Room 217, we have witnessed many care partners decrease costs through the strategic and purposeful use of music in their caring practices. This is most notable in senior care, where the average number of prescriptions held by an older adult is 5. It is imperative for the Canadian health system to recognize alternatives to pharmacological treatments that are efficacious to reduce overall costs to the system.
Music is accessible, captivating, and connects deeply to each of us. Therefore, it is a great tool to use instead of prescribing medications to individuals who are disengaged, disruptive, or unable to attend for extended periods of time. During the Room 217 Partners pilot study, we found that educated staff were able to implement music instead of medicating residents with dementia. One personal support worker said, “we don’t need medications, we just use the music!” saving valuable healthcare dollars.
Music programs have a high affinity for participation from residents of long-term care and retirement homes. Room 217 colleagues in long-term and retirement care state that the highest attended programs involve music. From a programming perspective, music is a cost-effective way to deliver an enjoyable program to a large number of residents at once. Through the Partners pilot study, music care visits led to a significant reduction in experienced loneliness by participating residents. The music care approach was effective at decreasing loneliness, without the use of pharmacology.
In neurorehabilitation, therapists can set up their clients with recorded music and playlists so that they can practice at home. This is especially helpful for individuals completing gait training, or other music and movement exercises; the fact that through technology, music can be taken outside of the clinic, has the potential to decrease the amount of time needed to spend in person with the clinician. For example, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease can put a metronome app on their cell phone, plug in their headphones, and walk to work listening at the tempo prescribed by the therapist. This can have a significant impact on the independence and autonomy of the client.