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To develop a staff training intervention for agitation in people with severe dementia, reaching end-of-life, residing in nursing homes (NHs), test feasibility, acceptability, and whether a trial is warranted.
Feasibility study with pre- and post-intervention data collection, qualitative interviews, and focus groups.
Three NHs in South East England with dementia units, diverse in terms of size, ownership status, and location.
Residents with a dementia diagnosis or scoring ≥2 on the Noticeable Problems Checklist, rated as “severe” on Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, family carers, and staff (healthcare assistants and nurses).
Manualized training, delivered by nonclinical psychology graduates focusing on agitation in severe dementia, underpinned by a palliative care framework.
Main outcomes were feasibility of recruitment, data collection, follow-up, and intervention acceptability. We collected resident, family carer, and staff demographics. Staff provided data on resident’s agitation, pain, quality of life, and service receipt. Staff reported their sense of competence in dementia care. Family carers reported on satisfaction with end-of-life care. In qualitative interviews, we explored staff and family carers’ views on the intervention.
The target three NHs participated: 28 (49%) residents, 53 (74%) staff, and 11 (85%) family carers who were eligible to participate consented. Eight-four percent of staff attended ≥3 sessions, and we achieved 93% follow-up. We were able to complete quantitative interviews. Staff and family carers reported the intervention and delivery were acceptable and helpful.
The intervention was feasible and acceptable indicating a larger trial for effectiveness may be warranted.
Quality of life (QoL) is an important outcome for people with dementia living in care homes but usually needs to be rated by a proxy. We do not know if relative or paid carer proxy reports differ. We conducted the first systematic review and meta-analysis of data investigating whether and how these proxy reports of QoL differ.
We searched four databases: Medline, Embase, PsychInfo, and CINAHL in October 2015 with the terms: dementia, QoL, proxy, and care home. Included studies either compared proxy QoL ratings or investigated the factors associated with them. We meta-analyzed data comparing staff and family proxy rated QoL.
We included 17/105 papers identified. We found no difference between global proxy ratings of QoL (n = 1,290; pooled effect size 0.06 (95% CI = −0.08 to 0.19)). Studies investigating factors associated with ratings (n = 3,537) found family and staff ratings correlated with the resident's physical and mental health. Staff who were more distressed rated resident QoL lower. Relatives rated it lower when the resident had lived in the care home for longer, when they observed more restraint, or contributed more to fees.
Relatives and staff proxy QoL ratings share a clear relationship to resident health and overall ratings were similar. Rater-specific factors were, however, also associated with scores. Understanding why different raters consider the QoL of the same person differently is an important consideration when evaluating the meaning of proxy rated QoL. Proxy raters’ backgrounds may affect their rating of QoL.
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