There is a need to develop an outcome measure specific to music therapy in dementia that reflects a holistic picture of the therapy process and outcome. This study aimed to develop a clinically relevant and scientifically robust music therapy outcome measure incorporating the values and views of people with dementia. Focus groups and interviews were conducted to obtain qualitative data on what music meant to people with dementia and the observed effects of music. Expert and peer consultations were conducted at each stage of the measure development to maximise its content validity. The new measure was field-tested by clinicians in a care home. Feedback from the clinicians and music therapy experts were incorporated during the review and refinement process of the measure. A review of the existing literature, the experiential results and the consensus process enabled the development of the new outcome measure "Music in Dementia Assessment Scales (MiDAS)". Analysis of the qualitative data identified five key areas of the impact of music on people with dementia and they were transformed as the five Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) items: levels of Interest, Response, Initiation, Involvement and Enjoyment. MiDAS comprises the five VAS items and a supplementary checklist of notable positive and negative reactions from the individual. This study demonstrates that it is possible to design and develop an easy to apply and rigorous quantitative outcome measure which has a high level of clinical relevance for people with dementia, care home staff and music therapists.
Keywords: assessment; dementia; music therapy; outcome measure.