University of Limerick
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Exploring the experiences of a person with dementia and their spouse who attended a telehealth music therapy programme: Two case examples from Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-30, 08:54 authored by Lisa KellyLisa Kelly, Niamh Kenny, Cathy McGlynnCathy McGlynn, Ita RichardsonIta Richardson, Hilary MossHilary Moss

Introduction: There is an increased need for accessible psychosocial interventions that support both people with dementia and their spouses. Recent research demonstrates the benefits of music therapy and caregiver-delivered music therapy for this population. This paper contributes to the emerging evidence base on telehealth music therapy for people with dementia outside of a COVID-19 era when in-person services were available. Method: This exploratory phenomenological study explores the experiences of two couples who attended a six-week telehealth music therapy programme via two detailed case examples. Online semi-structured interviews with each couple were conducted pre and post intervention and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Three shared themes emerged from the data analysis including (1) social isolation and lack of confidence linked to dementia diagnosis is worsened in rural locations, (2) song singing and song writing enables us to revisit happy memories, and (3) telehealth delivery increases access due to geographical location. The findings are presented in a narrative case study format to provide rich detailed descriptions of the music therapy programme and to illuminate the experiences of the participants. Discussion: In both examples, telehealth delivery expanded access to music therapy (which was otherwise unavailable) and stimulated reminiscence which in turn encouraged meaningful engagement between the couple. The delivery of music therapy via telehealth, alongside in-person delivery, has the potential to expand access to music therapy to those who may not have access to or are no longer able to attend community support services due to geographical location, increased cognitive decline or reduced mobility. The successful delivery of telehealth music therapy is dependent on several factors including digital literacy, access to appropriate technological devices, caregiver support and level of cognitive decline



Nordic Journal of Music Therapy



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  • (3) Good Health and Well-being
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  • Irish World Academy of Music & Dance
  • Computer Science & Information Systems

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