Louise Drouin: Following her training in music – voice, Louise Drouin discovered how surprizing the effects of group singing were on very old people living in caregiving facilities and, at the same time, how little recognition group singing programs received. Louise thus underwent a master’s degree to verify and measure the effects previously observed (the Choraute study, 2013-2015), and, hopefully, obtained significant enough results to encourage the development of singing programs for the elderly, namely for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Personal experience with COPD and interesting results in the literature supported carrying on research related to choir singing programs for older adults, this time for those with COPD.
Impacts of a group singing program on older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a feasibility study
24 % of Canada’s population is to turn 65+ by 2030. While pulmonary diseases are the 4th cause of mortality, seniors are more likely affected by COPD. Studies reported that COPD reduce pulmonary functions, functional capacity and quality of life, and potentially cognitive functions and social participation. Costs related to COPD are high – about 700 million $ /year in Canada (2013). Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) helps to improve outcomes, but its long-term effects are limited. Moreover, only a low portion of patients with COPD can access to PR in Quebec. There is a need to develop other effective options to traditional rehabilitations. Therapeutic choirs appear as a promising option, based on results reported in past UK studies. However, whether its effects can be compared to PR and how such therapeutic choirs can be implemented in Québec is still unexplored.
Objectives: To test the feasibility of conducting a large study in COPD patients, which aims to assess the effects of a nonmedical group-singing intervention, and compare its effect to usual PR on selected outcomes (pulmonary function, functional capacity, cognitive function, quality of life and social participation).
Method: A mixed-design convergent parallel quasi-experimental exploratory study, including a singing group (intervention, n=20) and a PR group (control, n=20), will be used. Participants (50+) involved will have severe to very severe COPD (GOLD standard), stable medical conditions and no PR for 12 months. Those with severe comorbidities and cognitive losses (MoCA<21) will be excluded. Both groups will meet for 12 weeks, twice a week, starting April 2018. Outcomes measured are: pulmonary function (FEV1/FEV6), functional capacity (6MWT), cognition (MoCA, TrailMaking A & B, Stroop), MHAVIE (social participation), quality of life (CAT; Social activities), as well as client satisfaction, health and research perception (Qualitative interviews). Measures will be taken three times: before and after the intervention, and post-12 weeks (residual effects). Partnerships with lung specialists are in place.
Results will be used to design large scale study (ex. outcomes to be selected, target sample size). Our unique interdisciplinary team from medical (pneumology, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy) and non-medical (music, psychology, gerontology) fields will support innovative research. Such experimentation could be the start of an attractive alternative to PR, both pleasant and economical, and a creative way to live better with COPD.