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Systematic review of the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions to improve quality of life of people with dementia

  • Claudia Cooper (a1), Naaheed Mukadam (a1), Cornelius Katona (a1), Constantine G. Lyketsos (a2), David Ames (a3) (a4), Peter Rabins (a2), Knut Engedal (a5), Carlos de Mendonça Lima (a6), Dan Blazer (a7), Linda Teri (a8), Henry Brodaty (a3) (a4) and Gill Livingston (a1)...

Abstract

Background: People with dementia report lower quality of life, but we know little about what interventions might improve it.

Methods: We systematically reviewed 20 randomized controlled trials reporting the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions in improving quality of life or well-being of people with dementia meeting predetermined criteria. We rated study validity with a checklist. We contacted authors for additional data. We calculated standardized mean differences (SMD) and, for studies reporting similar interventions, pooled standardized effect sizes (SES).

Results: Pooled analyses found that family carer coping strategy-based interventions (four studies, which did not individually achieve significance; n = 420; SES 0.24 (range 0.03–0.45)) and combined patient activity and family carer coping interventions (two studies, not individually significant; n = 191; SES 0.84 (range 0.54–1.14)) might improve quality of life. In one high-quality study, a care management system improved quality of life of people with dementia living at home. Group Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (GCST) improved quality of life of people with dementia in care homes.

Conclusion: Preliminary evidence indicated that coping strategy-based family carer therapy with or without a patient activity intervention improved quality of life of people with dementia living at home. GCST was the only effective intervention in a higher quality trial for those in care homes, but we did not find such evidence in the community. Few studies explored whether effects continued after the intervention stopped. Future research should explore the longer-term impact of interventions on, and devise strategies to increase, life quality of people with dementia living in care homes or at home without a family carer.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Claudia Cooper, Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, Holborn Union Building, Archway Campus, Highgate Hill, London, N19 5LW, UK. Phone: +0207 288 5931; Fax: +0207 288 3411. Email: c.cooper@ucl.ac.uk.

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