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Multisensory stimulation was not better than usual activities for changing cognition, behaviour, and mood in dementia

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Q In older adults with dementia, does individualised multisensory stimulation (MSS) improve behaviour, mood, and cognition more than a control activity (eg, playing cards, looking at photographs, or doing quizzes)?


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised controlled trial.

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:


Embedded ImageFollow up period:

8 weeks.

Embedded ImageSetting:

a day hospital in the UK and psychogeriatric wards in the Netherlands and Sweden.

Embedded ImagePatients:

136 patients (mean age 82 y) who had Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or mixed dementia; no major psychiatric comorbid conditions; moderate to severe cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] score 0–17); and were not confined to bed.

Embedded ImageInterventions:

eight 30 minute sessions of either MSS (n = 65) or activity (n = 71) twice a week for 4 weeks. Sessions occurred one on one with the same key worker (nurse, occupational therapist, or psychology assistant) whenever possible. MSS was matched to the patient’s needs and interests and included light and sound effects and materials for touching and smelling. The comparison activity sessions consisted of playing cards, doing quizzes, and looking at photographs with no clear aim or focus to the task. No intentional special MSS experiences were introduced.

Embedded ImageOutcomes:

behaviour and mood during and after sessions (Interact rating form); …

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  • * Information provided by author.

  • For correspondence: Mr R Matthew Owen, Research Department, St Ann’s Hospital, Poole, UK.

  • Source of funding: no external funding.