Effects of Multimodal Nondrug Therapy on Dementia Symptoms and Need for Care in Nursing Home Residents with Degenerative Dementia: A Randomized-Controlled Study with 6-Month Follow-Up


Address correspondence to Katharina Luttenberger, Psychiatrische Universitätsklinik Erlangen, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054 Erlangen, Germany. E-mail: katharina.luttenberger@uk-erlangen.de



To determine the efficacy of multimodal, nondrug therapy on symptoms of dementia and need for care in institutionalized individuals with degenerative dementia.


Randomized, controlled, longitudinal trial. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression.


Five German nursing homes.


One hundred thirty-nine nursing home residents with primary degenerative dementia (Mini-Mental State Examination score < 24).


The 6-month intervention comprised three components: motor stimulation, activities of daily living, and cognitive stimulation (MAKS). Groups of 10 patients led by two therapists participated in the standardized intervention for 2 hours, 6 days a week. The intervention was described in detail in an intervention manual. Adherence to the manual was high. Controls received treatment as usual.


Overall geriatric symptoms were recorded using the Nurses' Observation Scale for Geriatric Patients, functional independence using the Barthel Index, and care time using the Resource Utilization in Dementia—Formal Care.


Of 646 individuals screened, 146 were eligible, and 130 were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. At 6 months, results of the per-protocol analysis (n = 119) showed improvement in overall dementia symptoms in the MAKS group and no change in the control group (adjusted mean difference (AMD) = −6.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = −10.3 to −3.3; P < .001, Cohen d = 0.66). This effect was greatest on the social behavior (AMD = −1.9, 95% CI = −2.9 to −0.8; P < .001; Cohen d = 0.54) and instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) (AMD = −1.4, 95% CI = −2.5 to −0.30; P = .01; Cohen d = 0.43) subscales. No effect was seen on functional independence or total care time.


This 6-month nondrug multimodal intervention improved dementia symptoms in nursing home residents, especially in social behavior and IADL capabilities.


www.isrctn.comIdentifier: ISRCTN87391496.