The Online Life Story Book: A randomized controlled trial on the effects of a digital reminiscence intervention for people with (very) mild dementia and their informal caregivers

Teuntje R. Elfrink*, Christina Ullrich, Miriam Kunz, Sytse U. Zuidema, Gerben J. Westerhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper describes a randomized controlled trial on the Online Life Story Book (OLSB), a digital reminiscence intervention for people with (very) mild dementia living at home. The aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of the OLSB on (i) neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in persons with dementia and (ii) the distress and quality of life (QOL) of primary informal caregivers. A randomized controlled trial with individual randomization to one of two conditions was conducted: 1) intervention “Online Life Story Book”; 2) wait list control condition. In the intervention OLSB, a trained volunteer guided the participants through the process of creating an OLSB in approximately 5 meetings within a period of 8–10 weeks. Participants in the control condition received care as usual while they waited for 6 months before starting. Outcomes on NPS and distress and QOL of the informal caregiver were assessed at baseline (baseline, T0), 3 months (T1) and 6 months (T2) post baseline. Of the 42 persons with dementia, 23 were female and 19 were male. They had a mean age of 80 years, ranging from 49 to 95. The total drop-out rate was 14.3 percent. Small but insignificant effects on NPS, caregiver distress and QOL of caregivers were found with the exception of self-rated caregiver distress that reduced significantly during the intervention. One reason to explain the results might be that the included participants were in relatively good health. Practical challenges during the intervention could have affected the results as well. It might also be that the intervention caused effects on other outcomes than NPS and caregiver distress. In future research, it is important to study the effects in persons with more complaints and higher distress and to be careful in the selection of outcome variables in relation to the reminiscence functions served by the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0256251
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • UT-Gold-D

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