Impact of Music & Memory Spans a Decade

Elderly gentleman enjoying music on headphones

For the past ten years, Music & Memory has been using personalized music to help individuals with a wide range of cognitive and physical conditions to engage with the world, ease pain, and reclaim their humanity. 

As the national program continues to promote the power of music, they recognized the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) Music & Memory staff for implementing the program in 57 facilities across the state. 

“Effectively implementing a nonpharmacological approach like the Music and Memory program provides benefits to the individuals receiving the care and those providing the care,” explained Lori Hintz, RN, CDP, CADDCT. “Reducing behavior issues without medication impacts the quality of care and the job satisfaction of the staff, both of which lead to lower healthcare costs.”

As the nursing home quality improvement lead for SDFMC and a member of the South Dakota Dementia Coalition, Hintz recognized the potential of music therapy for reducing antipsychotic medication rates. She led a collaborative effort to request Civil Money Penalties (CMP) funding to implement Music & Memory in 55 nursing homes across South Dakota. Nursing home interest exceeded the funding and a waiting list was formed.  

The Phase 1 funding provided each participating nursing home with training and equipment to provide personalized play lists for 15 residents.  As family members and caregivers saw the impact on their loved ones, communities began to volunteer and fundraise to expand access to the program.

Hintz added, “We are currently awaiting notification if our Phase 2 South Dakota Music & Memory will be funded.  If so, we anticipate all 104 South Dakota nursing homes will be certified as a national Music and Memory center.”

Upon approval of Phase 2 funding, Cheri Fast, RN, program manager for SDFMC, will lead efforts to promote and implement Music and Memory to the remaining nursing homes in the state. 

“Music can have such a profound effect on us no matter what we are experiencing. We can listen to music to help us through the happiest and most difficult times of our lives and because of technology, we can listen to music most anywhere,” shared Fast. “Music connects us all and is said to be the universal language of mankind. I believe that to be true.”