Couple dancing
Research from multiple studies shows the profound effect personalized music can have on individuals with deteriorating brain function such as those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other types of cognitive loss. Music & Memory® is an organization equipped to train professionals how to design personalized music playlists for their residents. This approach has been associated with a reduction in the amount of antipsychotic medication taken by nursing homes residents as well as a decrease in distressed behaviors.

Denise Kolba, RN, program manager for Great Plains Quality Innovation Network“I know how I feel when a special song from my younger years plays. I immediately want to sing along and often surprise myself by remembering all the words, even if it’s been years since I heard the song,” shared Denise Kolba, RN, program manager with the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care. “Long-term care residents suffering from memory problems often feel isolated and lonely. Offering music chosen just for them, and played through headsets, has been shown to improve their mood, bringing smiles and even singing.”

Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funding made it possible to relaunch the program, recruit more nursing homes, and provide training and certification in North Dakota and South Dakota. Quality Health Associates of North Dakota (QHA) and South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) will continue their work to assist facilities with implementation of Music & Memory in their respective states. Spearfish Canyon Healthcare is one of the South Dakota nursing homes to receive recent training and certification.

Nicole Clem, quality activities coordinator, commented, “Music provides healing in several ways and can have a positive effect on residents. Music is known to help reduce anxiety, behaviors, depression and bring back personal memories for the elderly living with dementia.

Our residents at Spearfish Canyon Healthcare are dear to our hearts, and their health, happiness, and what memories they do have left, are important to us. It is our goal to continue to fulfill their needs through our inspirational values: Experience, Wellness, Compassion, and Results.

We believe the Music & Memory program will help us to fulfill these values. Thank you for sending us the information on this program. We can’t wait to get started!”

QHA, as part of the ND Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, is seeking to recruit 20 new facilities to join the 31 ND nursing homes previously certified. Those new to the program will receive training, equipment, certification and renewal fees, and technical assistance. Contact Geneal Roth at 701-989-6225 or Michelle Lauckner at 701-989-6229 for additional information

Kolba added, “Long-term care facilities struggling to find staff to implement and sustain Music & Memory may be able to find help from volunteers. Tasks, such as downloading music and creating playlists, can be done outside the facility.”

South Dakota will be adding to the 71 nursing homes previously certified in Music & Memory with a goal to provide certification, equipment and technical assistance to the remaining 41 facilities. Having begun Phase 2 in October 2020, training has been completed for 22 nursing homes, providing residents with the advantage of personalized music.

Each trained facility in South Dakota receives a laptop computer and equipment to provide fifteen residents with individualized music devices, national certification and renewal fees, training, technical assistance, and facility scholarships to attend one of South Dakota’s healthcare trade associations’ fall conferences. Contact Denise Kolba at 605-310-6792 to sign up for South Dakota Music & Memory.