News portal digitalcameranews.co.uk

Dementia patients should be offered music and dance therapy   

Despite guidelines recommending music or dancing for people with dementia, such therapies had not been widely adopted

Credit:
Getty

More people with dementia should be given music or dance therapy in a bid to prevent them being "over-medicalised", the Health Secretary has said.

It follows research which found that giving people with dementia personal playlists resulted in a 60 per cent reduction in the need for mind-altering drugs.

Matt Hancock said that while guidance says local areas should consider music or dancing for people with dementia, such therapies have not been widely adopted across England.

He has previously called on GPs to prescribe “personal playlists” to reduce agitation in patients with dementia.

Speaking following a reception hosted by the Prince of Wales at Clarence House in support of "social prescription" therapies, Mr Hancock said doctors were “dishing out” too many pills, when other options should be offered.

FAQ | Dementia

He said: "Dementia can devastate the lives of people affected by it and although there is not yet a cure I believe we can do more to improve the lives of people with the condition.

"In particular, I want to combat over-medicalisation and dishing out pills when it’s not in the best interests of the patient.

"There is increasing evidence suggesting music can bring calm to people with dementia by reducing agitation and supporting those affected to cope better with symptoms.

"This is the kind of personalised care that I fully endorse as a key part of our NHS long term plan."

Officials said that such therapies should be used in addition to conventional medicine.

Around 850,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is projected to rise to more than a million in under a decade.

The early signs of dementia

Research suggests that singing and listening to music can help people with dementia, in some cases reducing the need for medication.

Studies suggest it can help reduce agitation and minimise the need for restraint, helping people with dementia and their families cope better with symptoms.

One charity Playlist for Life – which creates personal playlists for people with dementia – has achieved a 60 per cent reduction in the use of psychotropic medication at one care home.

A collaboration between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Hull’s stroke recovery service, used music sessions to help people after they had suffered a stroke.

Nearly 90 per cent of patients saw improvements in their physical and mental health, with fewer dizzy spells and epileptic seizures, less anxiety, improved sleep, improved concentration, and memory.

In Gloucestershire, hospitals are now referring patients with lung conditions to singing sessions, while a scheme in Cheshire connects school choirs to local care homes.

Add comment