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O'Shea, E, Devane, D, Murphy, K, Cooney, A, Casey, D, Jordan, F, Hunter, A, and Murphy, E
A cluster randomised trial on the effectiveness of a structured education reminiscence-based programme for staff on the quality of life of residents with dementia in long-stay units
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Background: Current projections indicate that there will be a significant increase in the number of people with dementia in Ireland, from approximately 40,000 at present to 100,000 by 2036. Psychosocial interventions, such as reminiscence, have the potential to improve the quality of life of people with dementia. However, while reminiscence is used widely in dementia care, its impact on the quality of life of people with dementia remains largely undocumented and there is a need for a robust and fair assessment of its overall effectiveness. The DementiA education programme incorporating REminiscence for Staff study will evaluate the effectiveness of a structured reminiscence-based education programme for care staff on the quality of life of residents with dementia in long-stay units.Methods/Design: The study is a two-group, single-blind cluster randomised trial conducted in public and private long-stay residential settings in Ireland. Randomisation to control and intervention is at the level of the long-stay residential unit. Sample size calculations suggest that 18 residential units each containing 17 people with dementia are required for randomisation to control and intervention groups to achieve power of at least 80% with alpha levels of 0.05. Each resident in the intervention group is linked with a nurse and care assistant who have taken the structured reminiscence-based education programme. Participants in the control group will receive usual care. The primary outcome is quality of life of residents as measured by the Quality of Life-AD instrument. Secondary outcomes include agitation, depression and carer burden. Blinded outcome assessment is undertaken at baseline and at 18-22 weeks post-randomisation.Discussion: Trials on reminiscence-based interventions for people with dementia have been scarce and the quality of the information arising from those that have been done has been undermined by methodological problems, particularly in relation to scale and scope. This trial is powered to deliver more credible and durable results. The trial may also convey process utility to a long-stay system in Ireland that has not been geared for education and training, especially in relation to dementia. The results of this trial are applicable to long-stay residential units in Ireland and internationally.
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