Sound project: our second newsletter in online!

Training Social and health care prOfessionals in mUsic-based therapeutic iNterventions to support older people with Dementia (SOUND)

SOUND is an Erasmus+ funded project which aims to develop a training curriculum of active and passive music-making activities targeted at social and healthcare professionals and informal carers involved in dementia care. The project also aims to produce an original music-based nonpharmacological intervention to improve the behaviour, mood and quality of life of older people with dementia and delay further cognitive decline for as long as possible.

The SOUND educational programme will seek to address different needs:

  • Those of dementia care professionals, who look for more effective methods and techniques for dealing with dementia patients,
  • Those of informal carers, who need to keep on training and acquiring new competences for better managing their loved ones in everyday life, and
  • Those of older people with dementia who must be listened and understood, should be able to communicate through a universal language, need to maintain their residual cognitive capabilities and seek to improve their quality of life.
Transnational Partner Meeting
On March 13 and 14, partners of the Erasmus+ Sound project gathered in Bucharest for a Transnational Partner Meeting, an opportunity for sharing, collecting the results obtained, and planning the next phases of the project. In particular, the partners exchanged views on the piloting of the Training to dementia care professionals and informal carers, on the realization of the Virtual Music Circle platform and on the Sound intervention with people with older people with dementia.
The co-design study has been completed – main results are out
The aim of the SOUND project is to develop a curriculum of active and passive music activities for dementia care professionals (DCP) and informal carers (IC) and to design and test a music-based intervention targeted to older people with dementia (OPD).

To gather data and information on the educational needs of DCPs and ICs and on the care needs of OPDs, a co-design study was conducted in Italy, Portugal and Romania. The study was based on the Experience-Based Collaborative Design (EBCD) method and a practical and a research part.

As part of the practical part, two music workshops were held in each SOUND pilot country: one with DCP and OPD and one with DCP, OPD and IC. Original SOUND music workshops were designed and delivered inspired by Circle Activities (CA) by Albert Hera, i.e. a set of activities performed in a circle based on vocal emissions of syllables associated with rhythmic sounds and body movements. The activities were conducted by a facilitator supported by internal observers participating in the circle to inform the facilitator about the behavior and state of the participants. External observers monitored the scene from outside the circle and took notes. A total of 55 people were involved in the co-design study in the three countries (18 DCPs, 22 OPDs and 15 ICs).

Some important recommendations were made for the design of training aimed at dementia care professionals, like e.g.:Train the whole care team to the SOUND method and include different professionals; multidisciplinarity is the key to successful SOUND.Prepare the activities in detail based on the OPD’s knowledge, background and musical preferences, but remain flexible to meet the needs of participants.Informal carers should be trained in the SOUND methodology and involved in the planning of SOUND activities according to the logic of co-design and participatory research.Pay special attention to the environment in which SOUND activities take place.Monitor and evaluate the effects of SOUND method on participants to design evidence-based music activities for OPD.
Structure of the curriculum for the dementia care professionals, Virtual Music Circle platform and delivery of the training
One of the main results of the SOUND project is the design of an original training curriculum for dementia care professionals which consist of six modules, seventeen lessons and a workshop, for a total duration of 22 hours. In Italy, Portugal and Romania, several dementia care professionals have been trained on the SOUND method among which 29 in Italy and 17 in Portugal.

An e-learning platform called ‘Virtual Music Circle’ has been developed as a place where dementia care professionals can access the curriculum, exchange ideas and make debate in a Forum.

What is next?
Next tasks will be the trial with older people with dementia and dementia care professionals that will take place in Autumn 2023 and the delivery of animated videos for informal caregivers on the use of music in the daily life with a relative with dementia. Stay tuned!