Health outcomes and quality of life of residents of shared-housing arrangements compared to residents of special care units - results of the Berlin DeWeGE-study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2012, 21 (21-22), pp. 3047 - 3060
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Aims and objectives: To compare different health outcomes as well as quality of life (QoL) between people with dementia living in shared-housing arrangements (SHA) and special care units (SCU) in nursing homes. Background: Often situated in large apartments in mostly urban settings, SHA are a specific German kind of small-scale living facilities for older care-dependent persons, predominantly suffering from dementia. SHA are completely disconnected from traditional nursing homes. Design: In a longitudinal design, all new residents of SHA and SCU suffering with dementia in Berlin were surveyed for one year. They were assessed when they moved into the SHA or SCU and again 6 and 12 months later. Methods: We surveyed physical and psychological health outcomes including ADL-functioning (Barthel), neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia (NPI) and challenging behaviour (Cohen-Mansfield agitation inventory) as well as QoL (Qualidem). Results: Fifty-six persons (43 women, 13 men) were recruited into the longitudinal study. The average age was 82·5 years at admission, participants mostly had a moderate level of cognitive impairment (mean Mini Mental State Examination = 13·3), prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms was high. During the one-year follow-up, analyses show a significant decrease in cognitive abilities but also of neuropsychiatric symptoms in both groups. In SHA, QoL increases on average during the one-year study period. Conclusions: Both types of facilities attract slightly different populations according to our data. Comparison of SHA residents to SCU residents documented no significant beneficial effects of settings in terms of health outcomes. Relevance to clinical practice: As no clear advantage of either SHA or SCU in nursing homes can be demonstrated for residents with dementia who move in newly, it is impossible to give a clear evidence-based recommendation and the decision for one setting or the other can be made according solely to personal preference of the resident. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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