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Effects and feasibility of an exercise intervention for individuals living with dementia in nursing homes: study protocol

  • Lindsey Brett (a1), Victoria Traynor (a1), Paul Stapley (a1) and Shahla Meedya (a1)



Worldwide, there are an estimated 35.6 million individuals living with dementia. It is important that non-pharmacological therapies are utilized to help manage the symptoms of dementia, such as agitation, as they are the recommended first approach in best practice guidelines.


This protocol outlines a randomized controlled trial with a qualitative component which evaluated the effects and feasibility of a physical therapist-led physical exercise intervention on agitation of individuals living with dementia in nursing homes. Physical performance levels were considered as a secondary outcome. This evidence-based protocol consisted of a range of adaptable physical exercises that targeted strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility. To help determine the optimum parameters for this population group, the study used two intervention groups: (a) physical exercise intervention for 45 minutes once a week; (b) physical exercise intervention for 15 minutes three times a week (total time also 45 minutes per week). Both intervention groups were compared to a control group, which continued to participate in usual care only (no specific physical exercise intervention), such as basic seated exercise class, carpet bowls, and “armchair” activities.


The physical therapist-led physical exercise intervention detailed in this protocol could be integrated into dementia care in nursing homes or other similar settings to help reduce agitation and improve physical performance.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Lindsey Brett, c/o Associate Professor Victoria Traynor, Faculty of Science Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, NSW 2522, Australia. Phone: +00 61 431 044 713. Email:


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