Reminiscence music reportedly reduces the symptoms of depression in patients with dementia. It’s also effective for agitation and disruptive behavior in patients with dementia, and makes it easier to provide care.

Now, researchers from the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Santa Clara, California report that music therapy makes fiscal sense as well.

First, the details.

  • Researchers reviewed the records of 129 patients, including 23 receiving music therapy.
  • Any staff member involved in patient care could recommend music therapy for a patient.
  • A board-certified music therapist confirmed that the patient was a candidate and guided music treatment decisions.
  • The cost per patient day was calculated by dividing the total costs by the total number of patient days for each study group.

And, the results.

  • Based on differences in cost for nursing care, home health aids care, and medication costs, the application of standard care that included music therapy cost $10,659 in this study.
  • By comparison, standard care in the absence of music therapy cost $13,643 — a cost savings of $2,984.

The bottom line?
In the article, the researchers’ reviewed the medical literature on music therapy and concluded, “Improved quality indicators, improved patient outcomes, and improved working conditions are all suggested [with music therapy].”

In a scenario where the professional staff of a hospice predetermines who will benefit from music therapy, implementation of that therapy by a qualified music therapist can result in cost savings.

One small point. It doesn’t appear that the salary of the music therapist was included in the calculations.

3/6/08 20:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.