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Improved quality of life and cognitive stimulation therapy in dementia

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Quality of life (QoL) is now seen as a key outcome in many aspects of dementia care. In a recent randomized controlled trial of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups, significant improvements in self-reported QoL were identified as well as changes in cognitive function. This further analysis of results from the trial examines whether the changes in these two domains occurred independently, perhaps for different reasons, or whether the effect of treatment on QoL was mediated by the changes in cognition. In all, 201 people with dementia living in residential homes or attending day centres were assessed using the Quality of Life-Alzheimer's Disease (QOL-AD) scale and a range of measures of cognition, dementia level, mood, dependency and communication. Participants were randomized to receive an intervention programme of CST or to receive treatment as usual. The QoL-AD and other measures were repeated eight weeks later. At baseline, higher QoL in dementia was significantly correlated with lower levels of dependency and depression, but not with cognitive function or dementia severity. Improvement in quality of life was associated with being female, low quality of life at baseline, reduced depression and increased cognitive function. Changes in cognitive function mediated the effects of treatment in improving QoL. These results suggest that whilst QoL in dementia appears to be independent of level of cognitive function, interventions aimed at improving cognitive function can, nonetheless, have a direct effect on QoL.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, University of Wales Bangor, Bangor, UK 2: Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, UK 3: The Petersfield Centre, Romford, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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