Theme and variations on quietness: Relaxation-focused music and imagery in aged care

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Addressing a resident-stated need, a relaxation-focused music and imagery (RFMI) program was devised for a 43-bed aged care hospital, based on principles of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). In the typically stressful and disruptive setting of community living, relaxation is known to assist with the management of physical and emotional symptomatology such as sleep disorders, grief and loss, pain, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The RFMI program was reviewed after twelve months of implementation to assess clinical effectiveness, using predominantly self-report data to reveal effectiveness and impact. Review participants comprised 14 regular program attendees aged 51-98 years (M=79 years, SD=11.2 years; 4 male, 10 female). The primary evaluation tool was a self-report questionnaire (Relaxation in Music and Aged Care, RMAC), which was complemented by other existing clinical data. Analysis of data from this mixed method review process utilized descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Results showed evidence of the RFMI program addressing clinical problems and enhancing facility-wide treatment processes via an increased awareness of relaxation and enhanced feelings of physical and emotional well-being. Despite such study limitations, these results highlight the importance of relaxation and music activities in residential aged care, indicating a role in addressing symptomatology, particularly the largely hidden health issue of depression in aged care.
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Short, Alison E.
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty
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