Background: Dementia among nursing home residents is often accompanied by high care dependency and behavioral disturbances, resulting in an increased workload for the caregivers. Snoezelen, integrated into 24-hour dementia care, is an approach that might improve the quality of working life of dementia caregivers. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of integrated snoezelen on work-related outcomes (workload and psychological outcomes) of caregivers in psychogeriatric nursing homes.
Methods: A quasi-experimental pre- and post-test design was used, comparing six psychogeriatric wards that implemented snoezelen in 24-hour care to six control wards that continued giving usual care. One hundred and twenty-nine Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) were included in the pre-test and 127 CNAs in the post-test. The six intervention wards received a 4-day in-house training program. The intervention further consisted of implementation activities on the ward (e.g. stimulus preference screening, workgroup), three in-house follow-up meetings and two general meetings. Measurements on workload, perceived problems, stress reactions, job satisfaction and burnout were performed at baseline and after 18 months.
Results: A significant treatment effect in favor of the experimental group was found for time pressure, perceived problems, stress reactions and emotional exhaustion. CNAs of the experimental group also improved on their overall job satisfaction score. In particular, they were more satisfied with the quality of care and with their contact with residents.
Conclusion: The implementation of snoezelen improved the quality of the working life of dementia caregivers.