People with dementia can contribute meaningful and reliable information about their ‘quality of life’ and should be given more opportunity to do so according to a groundbreaking Australian pilot study.

The Griffith University trial found that people with relatively poor cognitive ability were still able to complete the Quality of Life – Alzheimer’s Disease survey which assesses items such as physical health, energy, mood, family and friends, ability to do chores, ability to have fun, and life as a whole.

The scale uses simple language and takes only ten minutes to complete in a face-to-face interview.

“We often find that care staff use catch phrases [such as person-centred care] but they don’t necessarily put the ideas into practice or even know how to articulate what they mean,” said Professor Wendy Moyle

The study found people with dementia who were new to residential care experienced a poorer quality of life than other residents but people with higher self esteem, greater independence and good interpersonal relationships rated better on the scale.

Professor Moyle and her team of researchers have received further funding from the Australian Research Council (Linkage) and are currently working to develop a new model of care for people with dementia that will engage staff using the latest research findings.

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