IMPACT OF PERSON-CENTRED CARE TRAINING AND PERSON-CENTRED ACTIVITIES ON QUALITY OF LIFE, AGITATION, AND ANTIPSYCHOTIC USE IN PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA LIVING IN NURSING HOMES: A CLUSTER-RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIAL
Clive Ballard, Anne Corbett, Martin Orrell, Gareth Williams, Esme Moniz-Cook, Renee Romeo, Bob Woods, Lucy Garrod, Ingelin Testad, Barbara Woodward-Carlton, Jennifer Wenborn, Martin Knapp, Jane Fossey
One of the most difficult symptoms of dementia for caregivers is agitation. Usually some kind of antipsychotic medication is prescribed, even though pharmacological therapies have not been determined as safe or even effective for older adults with a diagnosis of dementia. This study set out to test the effectivenessand cost of person-centered care and psycho-social interventions on reducing agitation, improving quality of life and well-being, and reducing use of medications for patients with moderate to severe dementia living in care homes.
The intervention is simple: staff were trained in dementia issues, developed tailored social interaction care plans for patients, and received education regarding the use of antipsychotic medication. The structured social time was created to recognize and appreciate the patients’ abilities and interests, and were unique to each patient, given in one hour doses, once per week, for 9 months.
The results showed an improvement in quality of life for the patients, a reduction in agitation and other neuro-psychiatric symptoms (which were equal to orbetter than results seen with medication), and were all accomplished with cost savings that are easily replicated in other care homes. And what didn’t make headlines, but was also significant,was that there was an increase in positive interactions between staff and patients. All this for just one hour a week!
As a family caregiver, I personally found this study to be helpful and guilt-reducing. By being more intentional with the time I have with my father-in-law, I know that just one hour of devoted time spent actually interacting (as opposed to trying to get him to eat or exercise, etc.) is beneficial for both of us, and will help him and his paid care staff have a better week.
Just one hour a week of social interaction helps dementia patients
This article was recommended by Amy Yotopoulos, Senior Research Scholar and Director of the Mind Division at the Stanford Center on Longevity.