Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of snoezelen, integrated in 24-hour daily care, on the behavior and mood of demented nursing home residents.
Design: Quasiexperimental pre- and posttest design.
Setting: Twelve psychogeriatric wards of six nursing homes, spread over different parts of the Netherlands.
Participants: One hundred twenty-five patients with moderate to severe dementia and care dependency were included in the pretest and 128 in the posttest; 61 were completers (included in both pre- and posttest).
Intervention: Experimental subjects received an individual 24-hour snoezel program, based on family history taking and stimulus preference screening. Caregivers were trained, and (organizational) adaptations were made to fulfill the conditions for resident-oriented snoezel care. The control group received usual nursing home care.
Measurements: Observations were made on the wards using subscales of the Dutch Behavior Observation Scale for Psychogeriatric Inpatients, the Dutch version of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, and the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia. Independent assessors observed video recordings of morning care and rated residents' behavior and mood using INTERACT and FACE, respectively.
Results: Residents receiving snoezel care demonstrated a significant treatment effect with respect to their level of apathetic behavior, loss of decorum, rebellious behavior, aggressive behavior, and depression. During morning care, the experimental subjects showed significant changes in well-being (mood, happiness, enjoyment, sadness) and adaptive behavior (responding to speaking, relating to caregiver, normal-length sentences).
Conclusion: Snoezel care particularly seems to have a positive effect on disturbing and withdrawn behavior. The results suggest that a 24-hour integrated snoezel program has a generalizing effect on the mood and behavior of demented residents.