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Study shows benefits of OT at home

There is evidence that occupational therapy (OT) at home may improve a range of important outcomes for people with moderate stage dementia and their family or care partners, according to a recent University of Queensland-led study.

The systematic review analysed results from 15 studies worldwide that tested the effects of OT for people with dementia and their families living at home compared with those receiving usual care or attention control.

Study co-author Professor Sally Bennett said they found a range of benefits for the person living with dementia, including improvements in the ability to carry out daily activities and reduction in the occurrence of behaviour changes, such as agitation or repetitive questioning, that are often a result of unmet needs, and improvements in quality of life (QOL) for both the person with dementia and the carer.

The study found no clarity yet exists about the effect of OT on depression or anxiety in people with dementia or family carer depression. No improvement in carer burden was found. However, family carers reported less hours assisting the person with dementia and less distress from behaviours.

“This review adds new information to that contained in the Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with Dementia, and provides important information about non-pharmacological approaches that referring health professionals should be aware of,” Professor Bennett said.

The study, published in BMJ Open, is available at: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/11/e026308.full.

The study found a range of benefits for the person living with dementia, including improvements in the ability to carry out daily activities. Stock image: rawpixel.com

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