Determining the efficacy of dementia care mapping as an outcome measure and a process for change: A pilot study

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Journal Article
Aging and Mental Health, 2007, 11 (3), pp. 237 - 245
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Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) is increasingly being promoted world-wide as a useful approach in assisting staff to improve the well-being of residents with dementia. While DCM is employed as an outcome measure of well-being and as a process to assist staff improve quality of care, it has not been subject to the rigorous scrutiny of a controlled trial to establish its efficacy as an outcome measure, or as an intervention. In 2005 the authors were awarded an Australian Health Minister's Grant to conduct a randomised control trial of DCM in 15 residential dementia care units across the city of Sydney, Australia. This paper reports on a pilot study conducted with 35 dementia care residents in three secure residential care units in the state of New South Wales, Australia, prior to the controlled trial. The main aims of the pilot were to determine the sensitivity of DCM against the validated baseline and outcome measures selected for the trial and to evaluate the utility of the research plan. The utility of the research plan was established. Whilst a significant improvement was shown in staff interactions with residents over time, there was no evidence that DCM improved the residents' quality of life and well-being in relation to physical and cognitive functioning, although there was a reduction in the residents' levels of agitation and depression. While as a research tool DCM needs further refinement to match the strength of validated outcome measures that more accurately assess the residents' well-being, DCM procedures improved staff's attention to monitoring and attending to the residents' well-being. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.
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