Abstract

Background. Cure of dementia is not possible, but quality of life of patients and caregivers can be improved. Our aim is to investigate effects of community occupational therapy on dementia patients' and caregivers' quality of life, mood, and health status and caregivers' sense of control over life.

Methods. Community-dwelling patients aged 65 years or older, with mild-to-moderate dementia, and their informal caregivers (n = 135 couples of patients with their caregivers) were randomly assigned to 10 sessions of occupational therapy over 5 weeks or no intervention. Cognitive and behavioral interventions were used to train patients in the use of aids to compensate for cognitive decline and caregivers in coping behaviors and supervision. Outcomes, measured at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks, were patients' and caregivers' quality of life (Dementia Quality of Life Instrument, Dqol), patients' mood (Cornell Scale for Depression, CSD), caregivers' mood (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, CES-D), patients' and caregivers' health status (General Health Questionnaire, GHQ-12), and caregivers' sense of control over life (Mastery Scale).

Results. Improvement on patients' Dqol overall (0.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.6–.1, effect size 1.3) and caregivers' Dqol overall (0.7; 95% CI, 0.5–.9, effect size 1.2) was significantly better in the intervention group as compared to controls. Scores on other outcome measures also improved significantly. This improvement was still significant at 12 weeks.

Conclusion. Community occupational therapy should be advocated both for dementia patients and their caregivers, because it improves their mood, quality of life, and health status and caregivers' sense of control over life. Effects were still present at follow-up.

Occupational therapy is aimed at improving patients' ability to perform activities of daily living, promoting independence and participation in social activities, and reducing caregiver burden by increasing caregivers' sense of competence (1–8).

In occupational therapy, primary caregivers are educated about the consequences of the dementia and are trained by means of cognitive and behavioral interventions to sustain and improve patients' and their own autonomy, social participation, quality of life, and health status.

The relevance of occupational therapy is supported by findings that problems in daily functioning often are the reason for a decrease in quality of life in dementia patients (9,10) and that information and emotional support improves the quality of life of patients and their caregivers (11).

In this study, we present the data of secondary outcome measures on quality-of-life measures, after having shown that occupational therapy at home improves patients' daily functioning and caregivers' sense of competence, which were the primary endpoints of our trial (3). Because of the highly positive outcomes, with effect sizes on patients' daily functioning measures of 2.3–2.6, and on sense of competence of 1.2, we hypothesize that occupational therapy also improves mood, quality of life, health status, and sense of control over life of these patients and informal caregivers. This hypothesis was tested in the present study.

Methods

Patients

From April 2001 to January 2005 individuals were recruited from the Memory Clinic and the Day Clinic of the Department of Geriatrics of the University Medical Center, Nijmegen (UMCN), The Netherlands. Patients were included if they were 65 years old or older, had been diagnosed with mild-to-moderate dementia, were living in the community, and had a primary caregiver who cared for them at least once a week. The diagnosis of dementia was based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) criteria (12) Severity of dementia was determined with the Brief Cognitive Rating Scale (BCRS) (13), with a score of 9–24 being indicative of mild dementia, and a score of 25–40 being indicative of moderate dementia. Patients with a score > 12 on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) (14) were excluded from participation in the study, as were those with severe behavioral or psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) or with severe illnesses as judged by a geriatrician, those in whom occupational therapy goals could not be defined after comprehensive goal setting by using eligible goal-setting instruments for occupational therapy goal setting (Occupational Performance History Interview-II [OPHI-II], Canadian Occupational Performance Measure [COPM]) (15,16) or those who were not on stable treatment by an antidementia drug (i.e., < 3 months on the same dose of a cholinesterase inhibitor or memantine). Caregivers with severe illnesses were also excluded. All eligible patients and primary caregivers received written and verbal information by the geriatrician, and explanation and examples of the assessment instruments by the researcher. Next, allowing patients and caregivers the time needed to make a decision, the informed consent form was signed (or not) in a second meeting with the researcher.

Procedures

Study design

Patients were randomly assigned by blocked randomization (block size 4) to the intervention (10 sessions of occupational therapy at home over 5 weeks) or to the control group (no occupational therapy), which was stratified by level of dementia (mild or moderate). A statistician not involved in the study carried out randomization. Concealed envelopes were used to allocate the patients to either the occupational therapy or the control group, and these envelopes were opened by an independent secretary. In this single-blind randomized controlled trial, patients and caregivers were aware of the treatment assigned. The assessors (MT or MG) were blinded to group allocation. Patients and caregivers were asked before each assessment not to inform the assessors about the intervention. After each measurement, the success or failure of the blinding was checked in the assessors by the question: “Do you know to what group this patient was allocated?” The total study period per patient was 12 weeks from the moment of inclusion. The control group received occupational therapy after completion of the study (12 weeks later). Stop criteria during the study period were the start of another possibly effective treatment; admission to nursing home, home for the elderly, or hospital; withdrawal; or death. A process analysis was carried out evaluating the steps of the occupational therapy guideline that were followed in each case. The study protocol was approved by the medical ethics committee of the UMCN and was registered by the Protocol Registration System Clinical Trials.gov. no. NCT00295152.

Intervention

The study intervention was developed in a consensus process and was implemented by experienced occupational therapists, who had been trained (at least 80 hours) and were experienced (at least 240 hours) in delivering treatment according to this client-centered occupational therapy guideline for patients with dementia (1,2,17). Treatment consisted of 10 1-hour sessions held over 5 weeks and focused on both patients and their informal caregivers. In the first four sessions of diagnostics and goal defining, patients and informal caregivers learned to choose and prioritize meaningful activities they wanted to improve. To this end, the occupational therapist used three client-centered narrative interview instruments: the OPHI-II (15) directed at the patient, the ethnographic interview (18) for the primary caregiver, and the COPM (16) for both patient and primary caregiver. The occupational therapist evaluated the possibilities of modifying patients' homes and environment and observed patients' ability to perform relevant daily activities and to use compensatory and environmental strategies. Compensatory strategies were used to adapt activities of daily living to the disabilities of patients, and environmental strategies were used to adapt the patients' environment to their cognitive disabilities. The informal caregivers' supervision skills were also observed.

In the remaining six treatment sessions, patients were taught to optimize these compensatory and environmental strategies to improve their performance of daily activities. Informal caregivers were trained, by means of cognitive and behavioral interventions, to use effective supervision, problem solving, and coping strategies to sustain patients' and their own autonomy and social participation. The total time spent for this occupational therapy intervention, including the time spent for treatment at home (10 hours), narrative analysis, reports, and multidisciplinary briefing, was about 18 hours per patient and caregiver together. For a detailed description of the intervention, see Graff and colleagues (2).

Outcome Assessments

Patients and their informal caregivers were assessed at baseline before the intervention, at 6 weeks (effect measurement), and at 12 weeks (follow-up measurement). Outcomes of this study were quality of life, health status, and mood (of both the dementia patients and their caregivers), and caregivers' sense of control over life. Quality of life was assessed with the Dementia Quality of Life Instrument (Dqol) (19–21), which is divided into three categories and six subscales: (A) aesthetics (sum scores 5–25); (B) frequency of feelings: B1: positive affect (sum scores 5–30); B2: negative affect (sum scores 5–55); B3: self esteem (sum scores 5–20); B4: feelings of belonging (sum scores 5–15); and (C) overall quality of life (1–5) (higher scores on quality-of-life subscales indicate better quality of life, except for subscale B2). This quality-of-life assessment was performed on patients and caregivers separately, e.g., patients and caregivers were asked to rate their own quality of life. Health status was also assessed for the patients and primary caregivers with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) (22,23), in which sum scores range from 0 to 36 (lower scores indicate a better health status). The mood of the patients was assessed by interviewing their caregivers as proxies with the Cornell Scale for Depression (CSD) (24,25), in which sum scores range from 0 to 38 (lower scores indicate less depressive characteristics), and mood of the caregivers was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Depression Scale (CES-D) (26,27), in which sum scores range from 0 to 60 (lower scores indicate less depressive complaints). Caregivers' sense of control over life was assessed with the Mastery Scale (28), in which sum scores range from 5 to 25 (lower scores indicate a better sense of control over life).

Information on the age, sex, and educational level of the patient and caregiver was collected at baseline, as was information on patient comorbidity (assessed with the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale for Geriatrics, CIRS-G) (29), depressive mood (assessed with the GDS) (14), cognition (assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination, MMSE) (30), behavior (assessed with the Revised Memory and Behavioral Problems Checklist, RMBPC) (9,31), and caregiver relationship to the patient.

Statistical Analysis

The primary effects of this study were determined by analyses of covariance of the outcome measures (Dqol-overall, GHQ-12, CSD, CES-D, and Mastery Scale at 6 weeks) based on an intention-to-treat analysis of all available data, applying the last observation carried forward method for dropouts. Treatment differences between baseline and 6 weeks were computed by analysis of covariance, with age, sex, relation to patient, other caregivers, and baseline scores on the MMSE, GDS, CIRS-G, RMBPC, and outcome variables as covariates. Secondary analyses were performed with the Dqol subscores at 6 and 12 weeks (only in cases of positive Dqol overall score) and on all outcome measures at 12 weeks (conditional analysis: this analysis will only be performed if positive effects are found at 6 weeks). We tested two sided with a p value of.05 as level of significance, but as in the primary analysis seven sum scores were compared, we also reported the significance after Bonferroni correction, i.e., when p <.007. The proportion of patients and caregivers achieving a clinically relevant improvement was computed for the Dqol outcome measure and the numbers needed to treat (NNT) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated accordingly. A minimal clinically relevant improvement was defined as a 1 point improvement in Dqol overall score, which was 20% of the theoretical range of the Dqol overall scale. Per-protocol analyses were also carried out. The treatment effect sizes were computed as: d′ = Δ E/SDr (Δ E = the adjusted treatment effect, SDr = the residual standard deviation).

Results

Two hundred seventy-five consecutive, community-dwelling patients diagnosed with dementia were evaluated for eligibility (see Figure 1). Of the 135 patients randomized, three patients (one in the intervention group, two in the control group) stopped the trial immediately after randomization because they were not motivated for assessments, and they did not receive the study intervention, leaving 132 patients. Six patients in the intervention group (three admitted to hospital, one to a nursing home, one to a residential home; one started other treatments that influenced cognition and behavior) and six patients in the control group (one died, one admitted to hospital, one admitted to a residential home, two withdrew themselves, and one primary caregiver died) stopped the trial immediately after baseline data were recorded. Three patients in the experimental group (one admitted to a nursing home, one to hospital, one withdrawal) and three patients in the control group (one admitted to a nursing home, two did not complete assessments) dropped out just before the 6-week assessment. Consequently, at 6 weeks the per-protocol analyses included 114 patients.

The baseline characteristics of patients and caregivers were well matched between the two groups. Dementia severity was similar, but the control group patients and their informal caregivers were somewhat younger (2.0 and 4.7 years, respectively). Comorbidity was similar as were the baseline outcomes on general health status (GHQ-12 score) for both patients and caregivers in the intervention and control group (Table 1). All overall scores at 6 weeks differed significantly between the intervention and control group, even after Bonferroni correction (Tables 2 and 3). Patients and informal caregivers who received occupational therapy improved significantly relative to baseline as compared to controls on overall quality of life (Tables 2 and 3, Figures 2 and 3), patients on all quality-of-life subscales (Table 2), and caregivers on almost all quality-of-life subscales; only the differences on Dqol negative affect were not significant (Table 3). Patients and informal caregivers who received occupational therapy improved significantly relative to baseline as compared to controls on health status assessed by the GHQ-12 for patients and for caregivers (Tables 2 and 3). Patient and caregiver mood was also significantly better in the occupational therapy group than in the control group (Tables 2 and 3). These differences were statistically significant for both patients' CSD and for caregivers' CES-D (Tables 2 and 3). Informal caregivers who received occupational therapy reported a better sense of control over life (Mastery Scale) than did those who did not receive therapy (Table 3). This difference was statistically significant (Table 3). All significant outcomes at 6 weeks remained significant after Bonferroni correction (p <.007). The proportion of patients achieving a clinically relevant improvement on the Dqol overall was 49% in the intervention group and 17% in the control group; for the caregivers, Dqol overall was 54% and 14%, respectively. The NNT for the Dqol overall for patients was 3.1 (95% CI, 2.6–3.6) and for caregivers 3.3 (95% CI, 3.2–3.5). The effect size at 6 weeks for Dqol overall for patients was d′ = 1.3; for caregivers' Dqol overall d′ = 1.2. For patients' GHQ-12, d′ = 0.8; for caregivers' GHQ-12, d′ = 1.3. The effect size for patients' CSD was d′ = 0.7; for caregivers' CES-D, d′ = 1.3 and for caregivers' Mastery Scale, d′ = 1.6 (Tables 2 and 3). The per-protocol analyses showed effect sizes of d′ = 1.4 for patients' Dqol overall, d′ = 1.2 for caregivers' Dqol overall, d′ = 0.8 for patients' GHQ-12, d′ = 1.3 for caregivers' GHQ-12, d′ = 0.7 for patients' CSD, d′ = 1.3 for caregivers' CES-D, and d′ = 1.6 for caregivers' Mastery Scale. Blinding of the assessors was checked, and in 18% of the cases (n = 21) the assessors knew the treatment allocation.

Maintenance of Treatment Effects

At 12 weeks, 53 (78%) of 68 couples of patients and their caregivers in the intervention group and 52 (78%) of 67 couples of patients and their caregivers in the control group remained in the study (Figure 1). The outcomes of patients who had received occupational therapy were still much better than those of the control group (Figures 2 and 3). Analysis of covariance of the intention-to-treat population (n = 132) showed that the treatment difference in the intervention versus the control group at 12 weeks compared to baseline was significant for Dqol overall for both patients and caregivers (Tables 4 and 5, Figures 2 and 3). Patients in the intervention group also had significantly better scores on all quality-of-life subscales than did patients in the control group, and the treatment differences for all quality-of-life subscales remained statistically significant at 12 weeks (p <.05) (Table 4). Caregivers who received occupational therapy also reported better scores on all quality-of-life subscales, but only the differences on Dqol aesthetics and Dqol self esteem were statistically significant (Table 5). Patients' and caregivers' health status was significantly better at 12 weeks than at baseline. The differences were statistically significant for both patients and caregivers (Tables 4 and 5). Patients' and caregivers' mood was significantly better at 12 weeks compared to baseline. These differences were statistically significant for both patients' CSD and caregivers' CES-D (Tables 4 and 5). Informal caregivers in the intervention group had a significantly better sense of control over life (Mastery Scale) than did those in the control group at 12 weeks compared to baseline (Table 5). All significant outcomes at 12 weeks remained significant after Bonferroni correction (p <.007) (Tables 4 and 5). The proportion of patients achieving a clinically relevant improvement on the Dqol overall was 46% in the intervention group and 20% in the control group; for the caregivers, Dqol overall was 55% and 15%, respectively. NNT for the Dqol overall for patients was 3.8 (95% CI, 3.7–4.0) and for caregivers 2.5 (95% CI, 2.4–2.7). The effect sizes at 12 weeks were for patients' Dqol overall 1.1 and for caregivers' Dqol overall d′ = 1.5. For patients' GHQ-12, d′ = 0.7; for caregivers' GHQ-12, d′ = 1.1; for patients' CSD, d′ = 0.7; for caregivers' CES-D, d′ = 1.3; and for caregivers' Mastery Scale, d′ = 2.0. The per-protocol analyses at 12 weeks showed effect sizes of: d′ = 1.2 for patients' Dqol overall, d′ = 1.5 for caregivers' Dqol overall, d′ = 0.7 for patients' GHQ-12, d′ = 1.2 for caregivers' GHQ-12, d′ = 0.7 for patients' CSD, d′ = 1.3 for caregivers' CES-D, and d′ = 2.0 for caregivers' Mastery Scale. In 20% of the cases (n = 21), the assessors knew the treatment allocation. No adverse events were reported in either the intervention or control group.

Discussion

In this study, older patients with dementia and their informal caregivers who received occupational therapy had a significantly better quality of life and health status at 6 weeks than those who did not. The mood of these patients and of their informal caregivers and the sense of control over life of these caregivers improved significantly as well. At follow-up, after 12 weeks, these beneficial effects remained significant, except on two caregiver quality-of-life subscales, Dqol positive affect and Dqol negative affect, which were no longer significant.

This community occupational therapy intervention is proven to be highly effective on quality of life of patients and caregivers, because the effect sizes on all outcome variables of this study were high and similar to the outcome variables (daily functioning and sense of competence) of this randomized controlled study (3).

We believe that the positive effects of community occupational therapy on patients' outcomes in this study can be best explained by the strong positive association between dementia patients' daily functioning, mood, and quality of life (9,32). The positive effects of community occupational therapy on caregivers' sense of control over life are supported by an earlier study, evaluating another comprehensive occupational therapy intervention for dementia patients and their caregivers, in which positive effects on caregiver well being were also found (6). We believe that the effects on caregiver sense of control over life and quality of life could have been caused by the components of the intervention of training of caregivers' supervision skills and of providing individualized support to caregivers, which proved to be effective in earlier studies (33,34).

To our knowledge, this study is the first study that found evidence for the effectiveness of community occupational therapy on mood, quality of life, and health status of patients with dementia and of their informal caregivers. Strong points of the study are that it meets the Consort Guideline Quality Criteria for randomized controlled trials and that the occupational therapy intervention was already tested in a pilot study (1). Moreover, this intervention is also available for others, as it is directly based on a meticulously described guideline developed in a consensus meeting of a panel of qualified and experienced occupational therapists. We had a high follow-up rate at 12 weeks (Figure 1), possibly because our study and the occupational therapy intervention evaluated were directly relevant to the daily lives of patients and their caregivers. According to the occupational therapy guideline, in all cases except the dropouts, all stages (diagnostics, goal defining, and treatment) of the occupational therapy intervention could be carried out.

A limitation of our study design is that, as with some other types of treatment, it was not possible to carry out a double-blind study, because the patients and their caregivers knew which therapy they received, nor was it possible to blind occupational therapists to treatment. However, only in 18%–20% of the cases the assessors knew the treatment allocation. For this reason, we believe that our results are not significantly affected by observer bias. Another limitation is that participants were primarily recruited from the outpatient clinics of the memory clinic linked to a university hospital and not from other institutions or directly from general practice. Thus our sample may not be representative of all patients with mild-to-moderate dementia in our region. We deliberately chose this recruitment strategy, because we wanted to achieve uniformity in terms of dementia screening and diagnosis, to facilitate comparison with other national and international studies.

Conclusion

The intervention proved to be effective in increasing the mood, quality of life, and health status of dementia patients and their informal caregivers, and caregivers' sense of control over life. In The Netherlands, patients with dementia and their informal caregivers are now reimbursed for occupational therapy at home. We strongly advocate the inclusion of such interventions in dementia management programmes. The impressive gains in clinically relevant outcome measures obtained with occupational therapy for both patients and their caregivers underline the importance of adequate and timely diagnosis and proactive management in dementia.

Decision Editor: Darryl Wieland, PhD, MPH

Figure 1.

Trial profile. ITT = intention-to-treat

Figure 1.

Trial profile. ITT = intention-to-treat

Figure 2.

Means and 95% confidence intervals of Dementia Quality of Life Instrument (Dqol) overall patients at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks in occupational therapy group and control group

Figure 2.

Means and 95% confidence intervals of Dementia Quality of Life Instrument (Dqol) overall patients at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks in occupational therapy group and control group

Figure 3.

Means and 95% confidence intervals of Dementia Quality of Life Instrument (Dqol) overall caregivers at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks in occupational therapy group and control group

Figure 3.

Means and 95% confidence intervals of Dementia Quality of Life Instrument (Dqol) overall caregivers at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks in occupational therapy group and control group

Table 1.

Baseline Characteristics of Dementia Patients and Caregivers.

Patient and Caregiver Characteristics Occupational Therapy Group (N = 68) Control Group (N = 67) 
Mean (SD) age, y   
    Patient 79.1 (6.2) 77.1 (6.3) 
    Informal caregiver 66.0 (15.3) 61.3 (15.4) 
Sex (M/F)   
    Patient 29/39 31/36 
    Informal caregiver 22/46 18/49 
Relationship of caregiver to patient, N   
    Partner 41 38 
    Daughter 22 21 
    Other 
Mean (SD) scores   
    Mini-Mental State Examination 19.0 (5.7) 19.0 (4.0) 
    CIRS-G 10.7 (3.5) 11.6 (4.3) 
    Geriatric Depression Scale 6.9 (3.0) 7.5 (3.0) 
    RMBPC frequency 5.6 (5.3) 5.0 (6.0) 
    Cornell Scale for Depression 8.3 (6.2) 8.1 (4.6) 
    Brief Cognitive Rating Scale 27.3 (5.1) 27.1 (4.2) 
    CES-D 11.7 (8.3) 11.4 (7.2) 
    Dqol overall, patient 3.4 (0.7) 3.3 (1.3) 
    Dqol overall, caregiver 3.3 (0.9) 3.4 (0.8) 
    GHQ-12, patient 10.7 (4.1) 12.3 (5.7) 
    GHQ-12, caregiver 12.0 (4.9) 11.3 (4.0) 
Mastery Scale 12.6 (3.6) 12.0 (3.0) 
Patient and Caregiver Characteristics Occupational Therapy Group (N = 68) Control Group (N = 67) 
Mean (SD) age, y   
    Patient 79.1 (6.2) 77.1 (6.3) 
    Informal caregiver 66.0 (15.3) 61.3 (15.4) 
Sex (M/F)   
    Patient 29/39 31/36 
    Informal caregiver 22/46 18/49 
Relationship of caregiver to patient, N   
    Partner 41 38 
    Daughter 22 21 
    Other 
Mean (SD) scores   
    Mini-Mental State Examination 19.0 (5.7) 19.0 (4.0) 
    CIRS-G 10.7 (3.5) 11.6 (4.3) 
    Geriatric Depression Scale 6.9 (3.0) 7.5 (3.0) 
    RMBPC frequency 5.6 (5.3) 5.0 (6.0) 
    Cornell Scale for Depression 8.3 (6.2) 8.1 (4.6) 
    Brief Cognitive Rating Scale 27.3 (5.1) 27.1 (4.2) 
    CES-D 11.7 (8.3) 11.4 (7.2) 
    Dqol overall, patient 3.4 (0.7) 3.3 (1.3) 
    Dqol overall, caregiver 3.3 (0.9) 3.4 (0.8) 
    GHQ-12, patient 10.7 (4.1) 12.3 (5.7) 
    GHQ-12, caregiver 12.0 (4.9) 11.3 (4.0) 
Mastery Scale 12.6 (3.6) 12.0 (3.0) 

Note: SD = standard deviation; CIRS-G = Cumulative Illness Rating Scale for Geriatrics; RMBPC = Revised Memory and Behavioral Problems Checklist; CES-D = Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; Dqol = Dementia Quality of Life Instrument; GHQ = General Health Questionnaire.

Table 2.

Patient Outcomes (in Intention-to-Treat Analyses) of Occupational Therapy Versus No Intervention in Dementia at 6 Weeks.

Patient Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.0 (0.6) 3.1 (0.8) 0.8 (0.6 to 1.1) <.0001 1.3 
Dqol aesthetics 20.4 (2.9) 16.0 (4.6) 3.7 (2.5 to 4.8) <.0001 1.2 
Dqol positive affect 24.8 (3.1) 18.0 (4.5) −0.4 (−0.6 to −0.2) <.0001 1.1 
Dqol negative affect 17.6 (4.6) 25.3 (6.3) −2.5 (−4.4 to −0.7) <.0001 0.5 
Dqol feelings of belonging 12.8 (1.3) 10.2 (1.6) 1.1 (0.6 to 1.6) <.0001 1.4 
Dqol self-esteem 16.9 (1.9) 12.5 (2.7) 4.0 (3.4 to 4.6) <.0001 2.5 
GHQ-12 7.8 (4.2) 11.8 (5.6) −3.5 (−5.1 to −1.8) <.0001 0.8 
CSD 6.5 (5.3) 9.2 (6.4) −2.8 (−4.3 to −1.3) <.0001 0.7 
Patient Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.0 (0.6) 3.1 (0.8) 0.8 (0.6 to 1.1) <.0001 1.3 
Dqol aesthetics 20.4 (2.9) 16.0 (4.6) 3.7 (2.5 to 4.8) <.0001 1.2 
Dqol positive affect 24.8 (3.1) 18.0 (4.5) −0.4 (−0.6 to −0.2) <.0001 1.1 
Dqol negative affect 17.6 (4.6) 25.3 (6.3) −2.5 (−4.4 to −0.7) <.0001 0.5 
Dqol feelings of belonging 12.8 (1.3) 10.2 (1.6) 1.1 (0.6 to 1.6) <.0001 1.4 
Dqol self-esteem 16.9 (1.9) 12.5 (2.7) 4.0 (3.4 to 4.6) <.0001 2.5 
GHQ-12 7.8 (4.2) 11.8 (5.6) −3.5 (−5.1 to −1.8) <.0001 0.8 
CSD 6.5 (5.3) 9.2 (6.4) −2.8 (−4.3 to −1.3) <.0001 0.7 

Note: SD = standard deviation; CI = confidence interval; Dqol = Dementia Quality Of Life Instrument; GHQ = General Health Questionnaire; CSD = Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia.

Table 3.

Caregiver Outcomes (in Intention-to-Treat Analyses) of Occupational Therapy Versus No Intervention in Caregivers of Dementia Patients at 6 Weeks.

Caregiver Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.0 (0.6) 3.4 (0.7) 0.7 (0.5 to 0.9) <.0001 1.2 
Dqol aesthetics 20.5 (3.1) 15.7 (4.1) 4.1 (3.1 to 5.0) <.0001 1.6 
Dqol positive affect 23.3 (2.8) 19.9 (4.2) 1.3 (0.1 to 2.5) .0270 0.4 
Dqol negative affect 20.2 (5.6) 26.0 (6.3) −1.9 (−3.9 to 0.2) .0690 NS 
Dqol feelings of belonging 13.6 (1.0) 12.3 (1.3) 1.0 (0.5 to 1.5) <.0001 1.0 
Dqol self-esteem 17.2 (1.5) 15.4 (1.9) 3.7 (3.0 to 4.3) <.0001 2.1 
GHQ-12 7.0 (3.9) 11.0 (3.9) −4.6 (−6.0 to −3.2) <.0001 1.3 
CES-D 5.8 (4.8) 12.6 (8.5) −7.6 (−9.7 to −5.4) <.0001 1.3 
Mastery scale 16.6 (3.0) 12.6 (3.0) 3.5 (2.7 to 4.4) <.0001 1.6 
Caregiver Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.0 (0.6) 3.4 (0.7) 0.7 (0.5 to 0.9) <.0001 1.2 
Dqol aesthetics 20.5 (3.1) 15.7 (4.1) 4.1 (3.1 to 5.0) <.0001 1.6 
Dqol positive affect 23.3 (2.8) 19.9 (4.2) 1.3 (0.1 to 2.5) .0270 0.4 
Dqol negative affect 20.2 (5.6) 26.0 (6.3) −1.9 (−3.9 to 0.2) .0690 NS 
Dqol feelings of belonging 13.6 (1.0) 12.3 (1.3) 1.0 (0.5 to 1.5) <.0001 1.0 
Dqol self-esteem 17.2 (1.5) 15.4 (1.9) 3.7 (3.0 to 4.3) <.0001 2.1 
GHQ-12 7.0 (3.9) 11.0 (3.9) −4.6 (−6.0 to −3.2) <.0001 1.3 
CES-D 5.8 (4.8) 12.6 (8.5) −7.6 (−9.7 to −5.4) <.0001 1.3 
Mastery scale 16.6 (3.0) 12.6 (3.0) 3.5 (2.7 to 4.4) <.0001 1.6 

Note: SD = standard deviation; CI = confidence interval; CES-D = Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; Dqol = Dementia Quality Of Life Instrument; GHQ = General Health Questionnaire; NS = not significant.

Table 4.

Patient Outcomes (in Intention-to-Treat Analyses) of Occupational Therapy Versus No Intervention in Dementia at 3-Month Follow-Up.

Patient Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.0 (0.5) 3.1 (0.9) 0.8 (0.5 to 1.0) <.0001 1.1 
Dqol aesthetics 20.5 (2.4) 14.5 (4.6) 5.5 (4.1 to 6.9) <.0001 1.6 
Dqol positive affect 25.1 (2.7) 18.4 (4.2) 1.6 (0.3 to 2.8) .02 0.5 
Dqol negative affect 17.0 (4.1) 26.3 (7.4) −2.7 (−1.1 to −4.9) .02 1.0 
Dqol feelings of belonging 10.3 (1.7) 13.1 (1.1) 0.9 (0.3 to 1.6) .005 0.6 
Dqol self esteem 16.8 (2.0) 12.1 (3.4) 4.4 (5.3 to 3.5) <.0001 2.0 
GHQ-12 9.1 (4.2) 14.0 (6.0) −3.5 (−5.5 to −1.6) .001 0.7 
CSD 6.2 (4.6) 9.2 (6.1) −3.1 (−5.0 to −1.2) <.0001 0.7 
Patient Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.0 (0.5) 3.1 (0.9) 0.8 (0.5 to 1.0) <.0001 1.1 
Dqol aesthetics 20.5 (2.4) 14.5 (4.6) 5.5 (4.1 to 6.9) <.0001 1.6 
Dqol positive affect 25.1 (2.7) 18.4 (4.2) 1.6 (0.3 to 2.8) .02 0.5 
Dqol negative affect 17.0 (4.1) 26.3 (7.4) −2.7 (−1.1 to −4.9) .02 1.0 
Dqol feelings of belonging 10.3 (1.7) 13.1 (1.1) 0.9 (0.3 to 1.6) .005 0.6 
Dqol self esteem 16.8 (2.0) 12.1 (3.4) 4.4 (5.3 to 3.5) <.0001 2.0 
GHQ-12 9.1 (4.2) 14.0 (6.0) −3.5 (−5.5 to −1.6) .001 0.7 
CSD 6.2 (4.6) 9.2 (6.1) −3.1 (−5.0 to −1.2) <.0001 0.7 

Note: SD = standard deviation; CI = confidence interval; Dqol = Dementia Quality Of Life Instrument; GHQ = General Health Questionnaire; CSD = Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia.

Table 5.

Caregiver Outcomes (in Intention-to-Treat Analyses) of Occupational Therapy Versus No Intervention in Caregivers of Dementia Patients at 3-Month Follow-Up.

Caregiver Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.1 (0.6) 3.4 (0.8) 0.9 (0.6 to 1.1) <.0001 1.5 
Dqol aesthetics 20.5 (4.4) 16.0 (3.0) 4.0 (3.4 to 4.6) <.0001 1.3 
Dqol positive affect 23.3 (3.2) 20.1 (4.3) 0.9 (−0.4 to 2.3) .163 NS 
Dqol negative affect 19.8 (6.0) 26.2 (7.0) −2.0 (−2.1 to −1.9) .069 NS 
Dqol feelings of belonging 17.3 (1.7) 15.3 (2.0) 0.8 (0.1 to 1.5) .022 0.5 
Dqol self-esteem 13.7 (1.0) 12.5 (1.3) 3.8 (2.9 to 4.8) <.0001 1.6 
GHQ-12 7.1 (3.5) 12.1 (5.0) −4.9 (−6.6 to −3.3) <.0001 1.1 
CES-D 5.4 (4.5) 13.1 (9.1) −8.4 (−11 to −5.8) <.0001 1.3 
Mastery scale 16.7 (2.7) 12.3 (2.8) 4.1 (3.2 to 4.9) <.0001 2.0 
Caregiver Outcomes Occupational Therapy Group Observed Mean (SDControl Group Observed Mean (SDCovariate-Adjusted Treatment Difference (95% CI) p Value Effect Size 
Dqol overall 4.1 (0.6) 3.4 (0.8) 0.9 (0.6 to 1.1) <.0001 1.5 
Dqol aesthetics 20.5 (4.4) 16.0 (3.0) 4.0 (3.4 to 4.6) <.0001 1.3 
Dqol positive affect 23.3 (3.2) 20.1 (4.3) 0.9 (−0.4 to 2.3) .163 NS 
Dqol negative affect 19.8 (6.0) 26.2 (7.0) −2.0 (−2.1 to −1.9) .069 NS 
Dqol feelings of belonging 17.3 (1.7) 15.3 (2.0) 0.8 (0.1 to 1.5) .022 0.5 
Dqol self-esteem 13.7 (1.0) 12.5 (1.3) 3.8 (2.9 to 4.8) <.0001 1.6 
GHQ-12 7.1 (3.5) 12.1 (5.0) −4.9 (−6.6 to −3.3) <.0001 1.1 
CES-D 5.4 (4.5) 13.1 (9.1) −8.4 (−11 to −5.8) <.0001 1.3 
Mastery scale 16.7 (2.7) 12.3 (2.8) 4.1 (3.2 to 4.9) <.0001 2.0 

Note: SD = standard deviation; CI = confidence interval; CES-D = Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; Dqol = Dementia Quality Of Life Instrument; GHQ = General Health Questionnaire; NS = not significant.

This work was funded by a grant from the Dutch Alzheimer Association, with additional financial support from the University Medical Center Nijmegen and the Dutch Occupational Therapy Association.

All investigators were involved in the study design. Maud Graff was the lead investigator, developed the study design, carried out data acquisition and analysis, and wrote the manuscript. Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, Joost Dekker, and Marcel OldeRikkert were responsible for the design, were project supervisors, and were involved in writing the manuscript. Marcel OldeRikkert was also involved in data acquisition. Willibrord Hoefnagels was also project supervisor and was responsible for the study design. Marjolein Thijssen carried out data acquisition.

We thank Jana Zajec and Patricia Verstraten for all occupational therapy treatments.

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Author notes

1Research Group of Allied Health Care, Department of Allied Health Care Disciplines, Occupational Therapy; and 2Center for Quality of Care Research and 3Department of Geriatrics, Alzheimer Center Nijmegen, University Medical Center Nijmegen, The Netherlands.