Telehealth Music Therapy: Best Practices in Dementia Care

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Until the COVID-19 pandemic, music therapy delivered via telehealth had not been practiced in any great extent. Telehealth presents both opportunities and challenges for music therapists working with persons diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers. Given the rise in the number of older adults in society and the drastic anticipated increases in dementia, telehealth music therapy will continue to prove valuable especially for persons living in rural areas or in areas of the globe where there may not be a music therapist. This presentation will offer an overview of telehealth for persons with dementia and their caregivers including: a review of the literature and research, practical recommendations, presenter’s clinical and research examples as well as implications for further research and training. While telehealth cannot replace in-person music therapy, the COVID-19 pandemic is an impetus to develop accelerated telehealth solutions internationally to reach individuals we were unable to previously.

Learner Objectives:

  1. To evaluate best practices for telehealth provision for persons with dementia and their caregivers. [ II Referral, Assessment, Interpretation of Assessment and Treatment planning D. Treatment planning 4. Evaluate the role of music therapy within the overall therapeutic program. & III. Treatment Implementation & Documentation. A. Implementation 1. 2. h, i, k, l, n, dd, ss, tt, aaa)
  2. To analyze the literature on telehealth, and understand the challenges and opportunities for persons with dementia [ V. Professional Development A. 2. Integrate current research and literature in music therapy and related disciplines; & A. 7. Develop and advance technology and interactive media skills.]
  3. To compare and contrast examples of clinical telehealth practice for persons with dementia from around the globe. [V. Professional Development A. 2. Integrate current research and literature in music therapy and related disciplines; & 3. Participate in continuing education.]

Presenter Biographies:

Amy Clements-Cortés, PhD, RP, MTA, MT-BC, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto; Instructor and Supervisor, Wilfrid Laurier University; Academic Coordinator & Instructor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Ryerson Chang School; Music Therapist and Registered Psychotherapist. Amy is the Research & Ethics Chair of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), Managing Editor of the Music and Medicine journal.

Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, PhD, MT-BC, SMTAE. Past-President WFMT. Director of Music Therapy Master’s Program (Esmuc, Barcelona). Her clinical work and research focus on the area of dementia. She is a member of the Singular Música i Alzheimer team (Barcelona, Spain) and leader of IAMM-Special Interest Group “Music therapy in the context of Dementia: People with Dementia and their caregivers”.