Background: The nursing home Valerengen boâ€“ og servicesenter in Oslo, Norway, a longâ€“term institution with 84 residents, has continually had regular music therapy activities with a music therapist in fullâ€“time employment since 1999. The institution was without music therapy services during the fall of 2003.
Method: At the end of the period without a music therapist, measurement of depression level by the use of Montgomery Aasberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) was conducted on residents (n=72). Two months after music therapy services had been resumed with music therapy groups twice a week in each ward and individualized services other days, a new measurement of depression level of all residents was conducted.
Results: Depression rating show a significant fall in the music therapy condition, compared with the no music therapy condition in a crossover design: MADRS 20.4 on an average in the no music condition, 12.2 on an average in the music condition (p < .05). Staff at the institution was stable, and there were no significant changes in medication.
Conclusion: A significant reduction in the average level of depression in a nursing home when music therapy services are resumed warrants recommendation for a larger controlled followâ€“up study.