WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: To stimulate reminiscence of older adults with dementia performed individually or through group sessions is a well-known practice in nursing homes resulting in effects on behaviour and well-being as an alternative for medication. Robust scientific proof of the effectiveness of individual reminiscence therapy performed in nursing homes is sparse. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: We have provided individual standardized reminiscence therapy to residents with dementia. The therapy was developed and tested in a previous study and performed in this study by trained nursing home volunteers. In comparison with a control group who received usual care, residents who received the reminiscence therapy showed significant less depressive symptoms. Moreover, residents were, in general, attentive, open and collaborative during the sessions and volunteers experienced the sessions as useful and pleasant. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: Individual reminiscence therapy can be learned and used by nursing home volunteers to improve care in nursing homes.
ABSTRACT: Aim To investigate the effect of a standardized individualized intervention based on the SolCos transformational reminiscence model on depressive symptoms (primary outcome), cognition and behaviour (secondary outcomes) for older people with mild to moderate dementia, performed by trained nursing home volunteers as facilitators. Background Because of limited pharmacological treatment options for older adults with dementia relevant physical, sensory, psychological or social interventions offer alternative opportunities. Method Randomized controlled trial (ISRCTN74355073) was set up in two nursing homes with 29 and 31 residents in the intervention and the control groups respectively. Eighteen nursing home volunteers were trained to perform the reminiscence therapy. Various assessment scales were measured pre- and post-sessions. Results Linear regression analysis showed an impact on depressive symptoms. However, no impact was identified on cognition and behaviour. Facilitators experienced the sessions as useful and pleasant, and study participants were, in general, attentive, open and collaborative. Discussion Study results showed that organizing standardized individual reminiscence therapy with nursing home volunteers was feasible and study participants' attention and participation were overall good. Further study initiatives to explore the potential of individual reminiscence therapy within a person-centred framework are recommended in order to improve care in nursing homes.