She was at high risk for developing bedsores and it was important that she be turned every two hours, but when approached by staff, she would scratch, punch, and spit. Her speech consisted of expletives, which she screamed in a shrill, piercing voice.
Music can soothe, comfort, engage, bring a recognizable world into an alien one. And, crucially, it can allow a nurse or other caregiver a chance to provide badly needed care to someone with dementia or mental illness who is agitated, confused, hostile, or terrified.
In this case, the place is Detroit and the music is Motown. The short passage above is from the Reflections essay in the September issue of AJN. “Playing Her Song: The Power of Music” is not the first submission we’ve had about the ways music can reach patients when words and other measures fail.
Putting on some music would seem a simple kind of strategy, but it may be worth a try in some situations that seem otherwise hopeless. Please give the short essay a read. Reflections are free.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor