HERD. 2023 Nov 26:19375867231207651. doi: 10.1177/19375867231207651. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The absence of a cure for dementia, combined with the increased longevity of the baby boom generation, is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of people living with dementia. Aging-related changes coupled with dementia-related behavioral symptoms pose unique challenges for those living with dementia as well as those who provide care. There is evidence that improved sleep can improve health and well-being. Research also supports using auditory interventions as a form of nonpharmacological therapy.
OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the effects of a customized auditory (sonic) treatment during sleep on the mood, behavior, quality of life, functional ability, and health condition of individuals living with the symptoms of dementia. Workforce outcomes were evaluated as a secondary outcome.
METHODS: A controlled before-after design with a mixed-method approach was used to evaluate the impact of the sonic sleep treatment during baseline, intervention, and discontinuation time frames.
RESULTS: Statistically significant improvements were observed in participants’ cooperation with care (p = .0249) and daytime drowsiness (p = .0104). Other nonstatistically significant improvements included bed mobility, appetite, bathing self-performance, toilet use, incidence of falls, following requests and instructions, and nighttime insomnia. While workforce outcomes remained unchanged, staff were supportive of resuming the sonic sleep treatment after the discontinuation time frame.
CONCLUSIONS: The sonic sleep treatment demonstrated improved outcomes for individuals living with dementia. This supports using an appropriate auditory stimulus as a fundamental component of care for individuals living in memory care settings.