• crossover design;
  • dementia;
  • methodology;
  • randomized controlled trial;
  • research design

Murfield J, Cooke M, Moyle W, Shum D, Harrison S. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 52–59

Conducting randomized controlled trials with older people with dementia in long-term care: Challenges and lessons learnt

The characteristics of older people with dementia and the long-term care environment can make conducting research a challenge and, as such, this population and setting are often understudied, particularly in terms of clinical or randomized controlled trials. This paper provides a critical discussion of some of the difficulties faced whilst implementing a randomized controlled trial exploring the effect of a live music programme on the behaviour of older people with dementia in long-term care. A discussion of how these challenges were addressed is presented to aid investigators planning the design of similar research and help encourage a proactive approach in dealing with research-related challenges right from project conception. The article is structured according to the three principles of a randomized controlled trial in order to keep experimental rigour at the forefront of this research area.