Dr. Jung Kwak and Dr. Michael Brondino from the Center on Aging and Translational Research in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will conduct the evaluation of the Music and Memory program as implemented by the Department of Health Services for the state of Wisconsin. Dr. Kwak’s primary research areas focus on quality of care in long-term care settings, and end-of-life care decision-making and developing caregiver support interventions at the end of life. Dr. Kwak is committed to conducting translational research with community agency partners to promote evidence-based patient-focused, family-centered support interventions and practice by health professionals. Dr. Brondino is trained as a quantitative psychologist and has more than 25 years of experience in the design and implementation of research in applied settings and in the analysis of data from such studies. He has collaborated on more than 45 grants funded by NIDA, NIAAA, NIMH, NIDR and other sources. Dr. Kwak and Dr. Brondino will also work on this project with Dr. Thomas Fritsch, who will serve as a consultant for this evaluation. Dr. Fritsch’s research over the past ten years has focused on translating epidemiological findings into rational, applied programs to serve people with neurodegenerative illnesses but by using non-pharmacologic approaches. Dr. Fritsch is known for using and studying creative approaches – such as the use of live theater – to teach minorities about neurodegenerative illnesses and encourage their participation in research studies. He is in demand as a guest on radio, TV, and lecture circuits, with a focus on the theme of “brain health/fitness.”
The evaluation will use data collected by the 100 nursing homes supplied with equipment by DHS for the Music and Memory program. The evaluation will take place in two ways. Ninety of the nursing homes will select 15 residents to receive the equipment provided by the project, and the researchers will use a portion of the MDS data that are being collected for those residents. The other 10 nursing homes will be the sites of a more intensive data collection process. At those 10 nursing homes, the researchers randomly selected six residents to participate in the evaluation, and nursing home staff selected the other nine participants. The six randomly selected residents at each nursing home will be given a special iPod Touch, with an application that will track what music the resident is listening to and how often the resident is listening to it. In addition, a research assistant will visit these residents at the nursing homes and observe their behavior at randomly selected time points. At the end of the evaluation, the researchers will examine the data collected from all of the residents who participated in the program to see whether the Music and Memory program has any impact on resident behaviors or on the use of anti-psychotics or anti-anxiety medications with residents.
Want to receive our newsletter? Sign up here.