Does music make the ward go round? The role of staff attitudes and burnout in the use of music for people with dementia
Introduction: The evidence-base for the effectiveness of music on people with dementia is unclear, yet music is frequently used in the care of people with dementia. Little is known about formal dementia caregivers’ views on the use of music in their ward. The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes of formal dementia caregivers towards the use of music in people with dementia through the development of a new attitudes scale, and to investigate if these attitudes may be related to staff attitudes to people with dementia and burnout. Method: 101 formal caregivers from NHS wards which accommodate people with dementia completed a survey consisting of the Staff Attitudes to Music questionnaire–Dementia version (SAM-D), translated and validated for the purposes of this study, the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Data were analysed using exploratory factor analysis, reliability analysis and a series of correlational and multiple regression analyses. Results: The SAM-D is a useful measure of formal caregiver attitudes to the use of music for their patients, with three subscales, ‘Positive effects’, ‘Organisational facilitation’ and ‘Negative effects’. Most participants had positive attitudes to the use of music as a non-pharmacological intervention. Attitudes to dementia is a significant predictor of attitudes to the use of music, whereas burnout is not related to attitudes to music. Discussion: Alongside the evidence-base for music, staff attitudes should also be investigated, although development of an attitudes scale can be challenging. There are furthermore clinical implications for the use of music in people with dementia and caregiver attitudes. Future research may help assess the SAM-D’s psychometric properties further and investigate differences in attitudes of different professionals in various settings.