Improving Morning Care Routines of Nursing Home Residents with Dementia
This study examined the effectiveness of a behavioral rehabilitation intervention for improving the performance of morning care activities of daily living (ADL) of nursing home residents with dementia. Participants and their caregivers were observed for 5 days each under conditions of Usual Care (naturalistic) and Skill Elicitation (intervention), and for 15 days under Habit Training (intervention follow-up). Observations involved the ADL categories of DRESSING, OTHER ADL, and NO ADL. A 3 x 3 design (condition x ADL category) was used. Observations occurred in five proprietary nursing homes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The participants were 58 women and 26 men, mean age 82 years (range = 64-97, SD = 6.3), with Probable Alzheimer 's disease (AD) (n = 19) and Possible AD (n = 65), with a mean MMSE score of 6.07. Condition 1, Usual Care, was the naturalistic caregiving condition. Condition 2, Skill Elicitation, consisted of an individualized behavioral rehabilitation intervention designed to identify and elicit retained ADL skills. Under Condition 3, Habit Training, the behavioral rehabilitation intervention was continued to reinforce and solidify retained skills and to facilitate further functional gains. A computer-assisted data collection system was used to document in real-time the assists used by caregivers, the participants' ADL performance, and the participants' responses to caregiving, including disruptive behavior. Compared with Usual Care, during Skill Elicitation participants increased the proportion of time engaged in nonassisted and assisted dressing significantly and increased their overall participation in ADL, with a concomitant significant decrease in disruptive behavior. These functional gains were demonstrated within 5 days of initiating the behavioral rehabilitation intervention and were maintained for 3 weeks during Habit Training. Physical assists were provided for significantly smaller proportions of a morning care session during Skill Elicitation and Habit Training compared with Usual Care. Even very severely cognitively impaired and functionally disabled nursing home residents can respond to a systematically implemented behavioral rehabilitation intervention. Their rapid response to this intervention suggests that it is alleviating excess disabilities brought on by care patterns rather than retraining ADL task performance. Residents with dementia benefit from behavioral rehabilitation by becoming more appropriately involved in their care and being less disruptive. However, behavioral rehabilitative care takes considerably more time than usual care.