Ben Gatehouse, Southern Cross Care: Enhancing quality of life with a personalised MP3 Program


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Ben Gatehouse, Dementia Consultant, Southern Cross Care (Vic) delivered this presentation at the 2014 National Dementia Congress. The event examined dementia case studies and the latest innovations from across the whole dementia pathway, from diagnosis to end of life, focusing on the theme of "Making Dementia Care Transformation Happen Today. For more information on the annual event, please visit the conference website:

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Ben Gatehouse, Southern Cross Care: Enhancing quality of life with a personalised MP3 Program

  1. 1. ENHANCING QUALITY OF LIFE WITH A PERSONALISED MP3 PROGRAM Presenter: Ben Gatehouse Position: Dementia Consultant, Southern Cross Care (Vic) Dr Margaret Winbolt Dr Michael Bauer Associate Professor Virginia Lewis Ms Carol Chenco Dr Laura Tarzia Dr Francine Hanley
  2. 2. Southern Cross Care (Vic) - Snapshot Aspiration – Older People Living Well Metropolitan and Regional Victoria: 9 residential homes with over 700 approved places 15 independent living units and more planned 1,546 Home care packages: Level 1 – Level 4 240,000+++ hours of in home support services including personal care, home care and respite 212,000+++ hours of respite care per annum 1,300 staff 400+ volunteers
  3. 3. Background to this Research Community and residential staff and families wanting additional resources and strategies to: Improve quality of life through leisure and lifestyle activities Prevent, and or manage behaviours of concern (i.e. anxiety, restlessness, shadowing, persistent questioning) Use music in a more individualised, person-centred way
  4. 4. MP3 Project Commenced using MP3 technology in community and residential care settings in late 2010: All clients/residents at different stages of dementia were eligible to participate Dementia champions, Care Managers, Regional Managers and Managers of Residential Homes, were briefed about the project and referral staff/family feedback documents were developed
  5. 5. Research Partnership In late 2011, SCC (Vic) partnered with the Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing at La Trobe University to research the use of MP3 technology The research looked specifically at the impact of using the MP3 on the quality of life and wellbeing of the carers of people with dementia living in the community
  6. 6. The Project Determine whether the use of an MP3 player provides respite from the high level of vigilance required for caring, and the feelings of stress that can be experienced by carers. Measure the effects of the MP3 use on caregivers’ selfreported stress levels, quality of life, perceived carer burden, self-care opportunities and confidence to manage BPSD. 50 carers of people living with dementia in the community setting participated in the study Intervention: MP3 player loaded with music of choice; used for period of 4 weeks; offered by the carer Data collection: Questionnaires; diary; interviews
  7. 7. Quantitative Results • • N=50 clients Comparing survey results from pre-MP3 use to 4 weeks of use: Significant decrease in psychological distress of carers (using K10 measure) Significant increase in self-efficacy for managing dementia (certainty of being able to handle problems, deal with frustration & keep relatively independent)
  8. 8. Description of Carers Participating Relationship to person in care 94.1% (48) living in same dwelling 2% (1) walking distance/ 10min travel 3.9% (2) >10min travel Responsibility for care 94.1% (48) primary carer 84.6% (33) sole carer Primary occupation status 90.2% (46) retired/ not in paid employment 7.8% (4) employed full-time in paid work 2% (1) employed part-time in paid work
  9. 9. Description of Carers Participating (cont) Primary occupation status 90.2% (46) retired/ not in paid employment 7.8% (4) employed full-time in paid work 2% (1) employed part-time in paid work Number of hours per week spent caring 5.9% < 20 hours per week 84% 20-60 hours per week 9.8% 24 hours per day Duration of time caring for the person 51% (26) > 5 years 35% (18) 2-5 years 14% (7) < 2 years
  10. 10. Dementia Caregiver Quotes “Den became more relaxed, calmer and less anxious. This is a very pleasant surprise as Den was not one to enjoy music to any great extent previously” (Carer) “Once you know what music works, it’s just amazing” (Carer) “To see how music so dramatically affected her, just left me gobsmacked”! (Carer) “I found that he was less demanding of my attention, when I needed to focus on something. That was a really good break for me. It was like having a respite, actually.” (Carer)
  11. 11. What Else Did We Learn? Responses to the program differed between sites: The dementia champion is pivotal Pre-judging of clients/residents may result in some people missing the opportunity to be involved Portability of the MP3 player is a key Intergenerational exchange
  12. 12. Conclusion The use of MP3 players was confirmed as a positive strategy Provides some relief from the everyday stress of caring Perceived to be an enjoyable activity Benefits to both carers and people living with dementia MP3 library now established for community and residential care homes