Megan Brooks

October 31, 2014

When nurses on an acute care inpatient psychiatric unit started holding a weekly karaoke night, they noticed an immediate change in their patients.

Patients were less anxious, used less pain medication, and were more open in group therapy sessions.

"We were thrilled with the results," Kelly Southard, RN, BSN, MBA, from Behavioral Health Hospital, Cone Health System, Greensboro, North Carolina, told Medscape Medical News.

The poster, which won first place in the research category, was presented here at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 28th Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Less Anxious, More Engaged

Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of music therapy on physical and emotional well-being, but none have looked at the use of karaoke among psychiatric inpatients, the investigators note.

The researchers studied 61 inpatients (60.7% women) who were participants in karaoke nights. The most common diagnoses were depression (50.8%), bipolar disorder (27.9%), and alcohol abuse (21.3%).

Patients completed the TRAIT Anxiety Inventory Scale and a sleep questionnaire, as well as a survey on relaxation, mood, and stress; the measures were completed both before and after attending karaoke nights. The researchers reviewed the patients' medical records 24 hours before and after participation in karaoke for changes in pain medication use, and they assessed changes in level of participation in group therapy.

The investigators found that participation in karaoke led to a statistically significant decrease in state anxiety levels. In addition, 30.4% of patients who were known to take medication as needed (PRN) used less medication, and 21.4% used less PRN pain medication.

After karaoke, nearly one quarter of patients (24.2%) increased their level of participation in group therapy.

"The results have been incredible; patients are more relaxed and more engaged in group after karaoke. Normally, patients can't wait for group to end," said coinvestigator Joann Glover, RN, BSN.

Average post-karaoke ratings for relaxation, stress, mood, and talking in group were all "very positive," the investigators report. Karaoke did not appear to have any marked effect on sleep quality.

Southard noted that karaoke has been "really good for our substance abusers because they are used to music usually in bar settings when there is alcohol involved, so to be able to experience this type of fun music being sober is healthy."

It is "very easy and inexpensive" to conduct karaoke on an inpatient unit, Southard said, "and we have now implemented it on our child and adolescent unit. The patients look forward to it."

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 28th Annual Conference: Poster 103. Presented October 23, 2014.

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