Apathy in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

; ; ; ; ; (). Apathy in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia : Results from a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. European Psychiatry, published online 21 February 2014 Peer reviewed.


Here we evaluate an interdisciplinary occupational and sport therapy intervention for dementia patients suffering from apathy.
Subjects and methods

A prospective, controlled, rater-blinded, clinical trial with two follow-ups was conducted as part of a larger cluster-randomized trial in 18 nursing homes in Berlin. n=117 dementia patients with apathy, defined as a score of 40 or more on the apathy evaluation scale (AES) or presence of apathy on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), were randomly assigned to intervention or control group. The intervention included 10 months of brief activities, provided once a week. The primary outcome measure was the total score on the AES scale measured directly after the intervention period and again after 12 months.

We found significant group differences with respect to apathy during the 10 month intervention period (F2,82=7.79, P<0.01), which reflected an increase in apathy in the control group, but not in the intervention group. Within one year after the intervention was ceased, the treatment group worsened and no longer differed significantly from the control group (P=0.55).

Our intervention was effective for the therapy of apathy in dementia, when applied, but not one year after cessation of therapy.