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Social engagement and depressive symptoms of elderly residents with dementia: a cross-sectional study of 37 long-term care units

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 November 2010

Adriana P. A. van Beek*
Affiliation:
NIVEL: Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Dinnus H. M. Frijters
Affiliation:
VU University/EMGO, Department of Nursing Home Medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cordula Wagner
Affiliation:
NIVEL: Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Peter P. Groenewegen
Affiliation:
NIVEL: Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Miel W. Ribbe
Affiliation:
VU University/EMGO, Department of Nursing Home Medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Sandra van Beek, NIVEL: Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, PO BOX 1568, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands. Phone: +31 30 2729751; Fax: +31 30 2729 729. Email: s.vanbeek@nivel.nl.

Abstract

Background: Social engagement and depression are important outcomes for residents with dementia in long-term care. However, it is still largely unclear which differences in social engagement and depression exist in residents of various long-term care settings and how these differences may be explained. This study investigated the relationship between social engagement and depressive symptoms in long-term care dementia units, and studied whether differences in social engagement and depressive symptoms between units can be ascribed to the composition of the resident population or to differences in type of care setting.

Methods: Thirty-seven long-term care units for residents with dementia in nursing- and residential homes in the Netherlands participated in the study. Social engagement and depressive symptoms were measured for 502 residents with the Minimum Data Set of the Resident Assessment Instrument. Results were analyzed using multilevel analysis.

Results: Residents of psychogeriatric units in nursing homes experienced low social engagement. Depressive symptoms were most often found in residents of psychogeriatric units in residential homes. Multilevel analyses showed that social engagement and depressive symptoms correlated moderately on the level of the units. This correlation disappeared when the characteristics of residents were taken into account.

Conclusions: Social engagement and depressive symptoms are influenced not only by individual characteristics but also by the type of care setting in which residents live. However, in this study social engagement and depressive symptoms were not strongly related to each other, implying that separate interventions are needed to improve both outcomes.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2010

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