Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of a musical fitness programme (MFP) intervention in improving neuropsychiatric symptoms, depression, upper-limb muscle strength and cognition of older adults with cognitive impairment in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Background: Because of population ageing, the number of older adults with cognitive impairment has been increasing. The effectiveness of medications in treating cognitive impairment is limited; therefore, the global trend has been for non-pharmacological treatments. However, intervention studies of MFPs on older LTC residents with cognitive impairment are scant. Design: This study adopted a quasi-experimental design in accordance with the Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND) checklist. In total, 84 older adults with cognitive impairment were recruited from seven LTC facilities. The MFP was implemented from July–November 2019. Methods: The intervention group received the MFP, which was 50 min per session, twice a week for 12 weeks, whereas the comparison group received usual care. Neuropsychiatric inventory nursing home version, the Cornell scale for depression in dementia Chinese version, 30-s arm curl test and Mini-Mental State Examination were the outcome measures. Data were analysed using Chi-square test, t test and repeated measure analysis of variance. Results: After the intervention, the scores of neuropsychiatric inventory and the Cornell depression exhibited significant differences over time between two groups (F = 3.6, p =.029; F = 5.96, p =.003, respectively). Nevertheless, 30-s arm curl test and Mini-Mental State Examination demonstrated non-significant between-group differences. Conclusion: The MFP can effectively reduce neuropsychiatric symptoms and depression in older adults with cognitive impairment in LTC facilities. To ensure a more robust evidence base, more research is warranted. Relevance to clinical practice: The MFP is a non-pharmacological treatment that can be implemented to promote psychological well-being among older adults with cognitive impairment in LTC facilities, and to indirectly reduce nursing staff burden. To assist nursing staff in providing this intervention, on-the-job training is needed.
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