Providing activity for people with dementia in care homes: A cluster randomised controlled trial

Jennifer Wenborn, David Challis, Jenny Head, Claudia Miranda-Castillo, Carolyn Popham, Ruchi Thakur, Jacqueline Illes, Martin Orrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Activity levels remain low in care homes, but activity engagement can enhance residents' quality of life. Aim: This study aimed to assess an occupational therapy programme designed to enable care home staff to increase activity provision. Method: A cluster randomised controlled trial with blinded assessment of outcome was conducted. A total of 210 residents with dementia in 16 care homes were recruited. Intervention homes received the programme, and control homes were provided usual care. Primary outcome is quality of life; secondary measures are dependency, challenging behaviour, depression, anxiety, severity of dementia and number and type of medication. Results: Quality of life decreased overall with statistically significant change in staff ratings (p < 0.001). At follow-up, staff-rated quality of life was slightly lower in the intervention group (mean difference in staff ratings = -1.91, 95% CI -3.39 to -0.43, p = 0.01). There were no significant differences between the two groups for self-rated quality of life or secondary outcomes. Conclusion: The results may be related to the following: wide variability in how the intervention was implemented, such as low staff attendance at the education and coaching sessions, and patchy provision of additional activities to residents; or the residents' severity of dementia or the choice of outcome measures. Future studies need to pay more attention to process measures such as implementation and fidelity strategies, and outcome measures that better capture the focus of the intervention such as level of engagement and activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1304
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • activity
  • care homes
  • dementia
  • occupational therapy
  • older people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Providing activity for people with dementia in care homes: A cluster randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this