Increasing the amount of social interaction for people with dementia living in care homes to just one hour a week improves quality of life when combined with personalised care, according to a new study.
A large-scale trial found that the approach also saves money.
Previous research has found that in many care homes, residents have as little as two minutes of social interaction per day.
The new research, published in PLOS Medicine, upskilled key care home staff to deliver person-centred care. That involves simple measures such as talking to residents about their interests and involving them in decisions around their own care.
When combined with just one hour a week of social interaction, the programme improved quality of life and reduced agitation and aggression in people with dementia.
The trial involved more than 800 people with dementia across 69 care. Two ‘care staff champions’ at each home were trained over four day-long sessions to take simple measures that such as involve talking to residents about their interests and decisions around their own care. Importantly, the approach also saved money compared to standard care. Researchers say the next key challenge is to roll the programme out across care homes to benefit the lives of people with dementia living in these facilities.
Paper: “Impact of person-centred care training and person-centred activities on quality of life, agitation, and antipsychotic use in people with dementia living in nursing homes: A cluster-randomised controlled trial”
Reprinted from materials provided by University of Exeter.