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To investigate global and momentary effects of a tablet-based non-pharmacological intervention for nursing home residents living with dementia.
Cluster-randomized controlled trial.
Ten nursing homes in Germany were randomly allocated to the tablet-based intervention (TBI, 5 units) or conventional activity sessions (CAS, 5 units).
N = 162 residents with dementia.
Participants received regular TBI (n = 80) with stimulating activities developed to engage people with dementia or CAS (n = 82) for 8 weeks.
Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES-I, primary outcome), Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease scale, QUALIDEM scale, Neuropsychiatric Inventory, Geriatric Depression Scale, and psychotropic medication (secondary outcomes). Momentary quality of life was assessed before and after each activity session. Participants and staff were blinded until the collection of baseline data was completed. Data were analyzed with linear mixed-effects models.
Levels of apathy decreased slightly in both groups (mean decrease in AES-I of .61 points, 95% CI −3.54, 2.33 for TBI and .36 points, 95% CI −3.27, 2.55 for CAS). Group difference in change of apathy was not statistically significant (β = .25; 95% CI 3.89, 4.38, p = .91). This corresponds to a standardized effect size (Cohen’s d) of .02. A reduction of psychotropic medication was found for TBI compared to CAS. Further analyses revealed a post-intervention improvement in QUALIDEM scores across both groups and short-term improvements of momentary quality of life in the CAS group.
Our findings suggest that interventions involving tailored activities have a beneficial impact on global and momentary quality of life in nursing home residents with dementia. Although we found no clear advantage of TBI compared to CAS, tablet computers can support delivery of non-pharmacological interventions in nursing homes and facilitate regular assessments of fluctuating momentary states.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the psychometric characteristics of the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) in a sample of dementia patients and their spousal caregivers.
We investigated the reliability and validity of the 14-item PSS in a sample of 80 couples, each including one spouse who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia (mean age 75.55, SD = 5.85, 38.7% female) and one spousal caregiver (mean age 73.06, SD = 6.75, 61.3% female). We also examined the factor structure and sensitivity of the scale with regard to gender differences.
Exploratory factor analysis of the PSS revealed a two-factor solution for the scale; the first factor reflected general stress while the second factor consisted of items reflecting the perceived ability to cope with stressors. A confirmatory factor analysis verified that the data were a better fit for the two-factor model than a one-factor model. The two factors of the PSS showed good reliability for patients as well as for caregivers ranging between α = 0.73 and α = 0.82. Perceived stress was significantly positively correlated with depressive symptomatology in both caregivers and patients. Mean PSS scores did not significantly differ between male and female patients nor did they differ between male and female caregivers.
The present data indicate that the PSS provides a reliable and valid measure of perceived stress in dementia patients and their caregivers.
Given the well-established association between perceived stress and quality of life (QoL) in dementia patients and their partners, our goal was to identify whether relationship quality and dyadic coping would operate as mediators between perceived stress and QoL.
82 dyads of dementia patients and their spousal caregivers were included in a cross-sectional assessment from a prospective study. QoL was assessed with the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease scale (QoL-AD) for dementia patients and the WHO Quality of Life-BREF for spousal caregivers. Perceived stress was measured with the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14). Both partners were assessed with the Dyadic Coping Inventory (DCI). Analyses of correlation as well as regression models including mediator analyses were performed.
We found negative correlations between stress and QoL in both partners (QoL-AD: r = −0.62; p < 0.001; WHO-QOL Overall: r = −0.27; p = 0.02). Spousal caregivers had a significantly lower DCI total score than dementia patients (p < 0.001). Dyadic coping was a significant mediator of the relationship between stress and QoL in spousal caregivers (z = 0.28; p = 0.02), but not in dementia patients. Likewise, relationship quality significantly mediated the relationship between stress and QoL in caregivers only (z = −2.41; p = 0.02).
This study identified dyadic coping as a mediator on the relationship between stress and QoL in (caregiving) partners of dementia patients. In patients, however, we found a direct negative effect of stress on QoL. The findings suggest the importance of stress reducing and dyadic interventions for dementia patients and their partners, respectively.
The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) is one of the most popular and frequently used instruments for assessing so-called challenging behavior in individuals with dementia in research practice. However, no information is available regarding the factor structure of the German version of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory – Nursing Home (NPI-NH). The aim of this study was to evaluate the factor structure (an aspect of construct validity) and internal consistency of the NPI-NH for two different stages of dementia severity in a large German nursing home population.
A total of 784 residents with dementia from 40 nursing homes in three studies was included in a secondary data analysis. Principal component analysis (PCA) using an orthogonal rotational procedure (with varimax rotation) was used to evaluate the factor structure of the NPI. Cronbach's α was used to assess the stability of the scale.
The factors agitation & restless behavior, psychosis, and mood were identified (with factor loading > 0.4 explaining 50% of the variance). The factors showed a moderate internal consistency of 0.55 and 0.68 (Cronbach's α).
The results show the acceptable factor structure of the NPI for a German population in nursing homes and confirm the results of studies from other countries. The three identified factors appear to be robust over the various stages of dementia severity. The results also support the hypothesis that the NPI-NH can be subdivided into multiple domains.
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