The Effect of Cognitive Stimulation on Nursing Home Elders: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors

  • João Luís Alves Apóstolo RN, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Phi Xi, Coordinator Professor, Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing Portugal, Nursing School of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
    • Correspondence Dr. João Luís Alves Apóstolo, Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing, Portugal, Nursing School of Coimbra. Avenida Bissaya Barreto – Apartado 7001, 3046–851 Coimbra – Portugal. E-mail: apostolo@esenfc.pt

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Daniela Filipa Batista Cardoso RN,

    1. Research Grant Holder, Portugal Centre for Evidence-Based Practice: an Affiliate Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute (Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing, Nursing School of Coimbra), Coimbra, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ana Isabel Rosa RN, MSN,

    1. Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing Portugal, Nursing School of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Constança Paúl PhD

    1. Full Professor, Research UNIFAI/ICBAS, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Purpose

This paper describes the effectiveness of cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) on cognition and depressive symptoms in older adults in nursing homes (NHs).

Design

A randomized controlled trial, carried out from 2012 to 2013, included 56 residents from four NHs, 36 women and 20 men (randomized into experimental and control groups). Eight participants dropped out.

Methods

Participants of the experimental group underwent 14 CST sessions (7 weeks) in groups of six to eight older adults, and participants of the control group received usual care. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, the Geriatric Depression Scale-15, and the Barthel Index of activities of daily living (ADLs) were administered at baseline and postintervention.

Findings

Repeated measures revealed that CST increased cognition (F = 8.581; p = .005; partial η squared = 0.157; power = 0.82). There were no statistically significant differences in depressive symptoms (F = 1.090; p = .302). Baseline level of ADLs did not affect the outcomes.

Conclusions

CST had significantly improved cognition, explaining the 15.7% variability, but there was no statistical evidence of its effectiveness on depressive symptoms. This improvement was not affected by the baseline level of dependence-independence in ADLs.

Clinical Relevance

CST offers a range of activities, providing general stimulation for thinking, concentration, and memory, usually in a social setting. These results will support implementation of CST in NHs. In addition to the impact on elderly independence and autonomy, CST may also have an economic impact by reducing the direct costs of the impact of elders’ cognitive frailty.

Ancillary