Improving quality of life for people with dementia in care homes: making psychosocial interventions work

01 Nov 2012
Lawrence V, Fossey J, Ballard C, Moniz-Cook E, Murray J


Background: Psychosocial interventions can improve behaviour and mood in people with dementia, but it is unclear how to maximise their effectiveness or acceptability in residential settings.

Aims: To understand what underlies the successful implementation of psychosocial interventions in care homes.

Method: Systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research.

Results: The synthesis of 39 qualitative papers revealed that beneficial psychosocial interventions met the needs of people with dementia to connect with others, make a meaningful contribution and reminisce. Successful implementation rested on the active engagement of staff and family and the continuing provision of tailored interventions and support. This necessitated staff time, and raised issues around priorities and risk, but ultimately helped redefine staff attitudes towards residents and the caregiving role.

Conclusions: The findings from the meta-synthesis can help to inform the development and evaluation of psychosocial interventions in care homes and support their widespread implementation in clinical settings.