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Making Connections Thru Music: A Group Music Therapy-Based Intervention for Persons with Dementia

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R42AG076037-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R42AG076037
Amount: $299,693.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PAS19-317
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-08-31
Small Business Information
Winchester, MA 01890-2374
United States
DUNS: 052321442
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (440) 665-7812
Business Contact
Phone: (440) 665-7812
Research Institution
CLEVELAND, OH 44120-1053
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACTHealthcare systems around the world, including within the United States, have long-established shortages of trained
caregivers (WHO, 2016; Jones, Liu, Murfield, andamp; Moyle, 2020). The American Health Care Association (2019) states that
“the health care system has experienced a shortage of trained caregivers for critical roles for some time.” This scarcity
directly impacts the 45,800 Long-Term Care (LTC) communities throughout the U.S. (Harris-Kojetin et al, 2016).
Concurrent with this staff shortage, more than half of LTC residents have some form of dementia (Alzheimer’s Association,
2019). These two issues create a serious public health concern, since dementia is associated with a variety of behavioral
expressions, such as aggression, anxiety, and agitation (Cummings, 1997). Behavioral expressions of dementia can be
successfully managed with the use of tailored, psychosocial interventions and communication support (Vernooij-Dassen et
al., 2010; Fazio et al., 2018). Unfortunately, existing staff shortages make the facilitation of such interventions challenging.One powerful and often-overlooked approach to ameliorating staffing shortages involves the utilization of retired
volunteers to facilitate interventions for persons with dementia (PWD). Based on the nearly universal love of music and a
promising pilot study, the product to be developed and tested in this STTR will build upon the combined prior work of the
Principal Investigators. Making Connections Thru Music (MCTM), an urgently needed product, will enable retired
volunteers to facilitate an evidence-based music and discussion intervention with PWD. MCTM aims to improve
engagement, enhance quality of life, and reduce behavioral expressions in PWD. The intervention will consist of two main
components: (1) a comprehensive online training course for volunteers, which will provide a general overview of dementia,
demonstrate effective communication strategies to use with PWD, and instruct volunteers to effectively facilitate MCTM
sessions, and (2) an app containing a structured MCTM intervention protocol and toolkit, which will be the means by which
volunteers facilitate MCTM. MCTM will be marketed to LTC communities.PHASE 1 SPECIFIC AIMS
The 12-month Phase I project has the following Specific Aims:· Aim 1: Improve and expand upon the MCTM training materials / curriculum and the MCTM intervention itself.· Aim 2: Produce two MCTM prototype training modules.· Aim 3: Produce a prototype of a MCTM tablet-based app.· Aim 4: Conduct focus groups to examine feasibility and acceptability of the prototype training modules and app.
PHASE II SPECIFIC AIMS The 24-month Phase II has the following Specific Aims.· Aim 1: Finalize the MCTM online training course.· Aim 2: Complete development of the MCTM tablet-based app.· Aim 3: Conduct a Fidelity Trial of the MCTM intervention.
In the Fidelity Trial, we will examine staff and volunteer adherence to the intervention, engagement/affect levels produced
by volunteer- and staff-led MCTM sessions, and self-reported PWD satisfaction with MCTM.PROJECT NARRATIVE
An estimated 6.2 million Americans are currently suffering from Alzheimerandapos;s disease (AD); besides affecting the person
with the condition, AD also presents a public health concern, due to the significant cost required to care for persons with
dementia (PWD) and to the mental and physical stress placed upon caregivers. So, there is an urgent need for products
and programs that improve the quality of life of PWD and reduce Behavioral Expressions. Additionally, the long term
care industry is regularly afflicted by staffing shortages leading to reduced quality of care for PWD. Through the
development and evaluation of an app that enables retired senior volunteers to lead a personalized music and discussion
intervention with persons with dementia, the proposed project will help meet this need.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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