Day Care for older dementia patients: favorable effects on behavioral and psychological symptoms and caregiver stress




To assess the effects of Day Care (DC) on older subjects with dementia and their caregivers.


Thirty patients with dementia, consecutively admitted to a DC, were compared with 30 patients, matched for age and cognitive function, who received usual home care (HC). Primary caregivers were compared as well. At baseline and after 2 months, patients were assessed for cognitive and functional status, behavioral and psychological symptoms [Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)] and psychotropic drugs use, and caregivers were evaluated for care burden [Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI)] and depressive symptoms.


After adjusting for potential confounders, NPI score significantly decreased in DC group, with a reduction of psychotropic drugs prescription, whereas it increased in HC. No significant between-group difference was observed for cognitive and functional change. CBI significantly decreased in DC, but not HC, caregivers, with no significant between-group difference in depressive symptoms change.


A 2-month period of DC assistance is effective in reducing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia patients and in alleviating caregivers' burden. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.