University of Limerick
Clifford_2024_Findings.pdf (1.75 MB)

Findings from a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled feasibility trial of a music and dance programme for community dwelling older adults

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Functional decline, chronic illness, reduced quality of life and increased healthcare utilisation are common in older adults. Evidence suggests music and dance can support healthy ageing in older adults. This study explored the feasibility, potential for effect and cost effectiveness of the Music and Movement for Health (MMH) programme among community-dwelling older adults using a pragmatic cluster-randomised, controlled feasibility trial design.


Community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older were recruited to seven clusters in the Mid-West region of Ireland. Clusters were block randomised to either the MMH intervention or control. Primary feasibility outcomes included recruitment, retention, adherence, fidelity, and safety. Secondary outcomes measured physical activity, physical and cognitive performance, and psychosocial well-being, along with healthcare utilisation were assessed at baseline and after 12 weeks.


The study successfully met feasibility targets, with recruitment (n = 100), retention (91 %), adherence (71 %), data completeness (92 %) and intervention fidelity (21 out of 24) all meeting predetermined criteria. Both groups exhibited an increase in self-reported physical activity and improved physical function. Participants in the intervention group scored consistently better in psychosocial measures compared to the control group at follow-up. The health economic analysis confirmed the feasibility of the methodology employed and points to the potential cost-effectiveness of the MMH relative to the control or no organised programme.

Discussion and Implications

The MMH intervention and study design were found to be feasible and acceptable with important findings to inform future evaluation of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a definitive randomised controlled trial.



Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 2024, 122, 105371



Other Funding information

This study is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards (DIFA) scheme DIFA-2020-005

Also affiliated with

  • Health Research Institute (HRI)

Department or School

  • Allied Health
  • Irish World Academy of Music & Dance
  • School of Medicine

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