Dementia Early-Stage Cognitive Aids New Trial (DESCANT) of memory aids and guidance for people with dementia: randomised controlled trial

Background

Common memory aids for people with dementia at home are recommended. However, rigorous evaluation is lacking, particularly what guidance or support is valued.

Objective

To investigate effects of memory aids and guidance by dementia support practitioners (DSPs) for people in early-stage dementia through a pragmatic, randomised controlled trial.

Methods

Of 469 people with mild-to-moderate dementia and their informal carers, 468 were randomised to a DSP with memory aids or to usual care plus existing dementia guide. Allocation was stratified by Trust/Health Board; time since first attendance at memory service; gender; age; and living with primary carer or not. Primary outcome was Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale (BADLS) Score at 3 and 6 months (primary end-point). Secondary outcomes for people with dementia: quality of life (CASP-19; DEMQOL); cognition and functioning (Clinical Dementia Rating Scale; S-MMSE); capability (ICECAP-O); social networks (LSNS-R); and instrumental daily living activities (R-IDDD). Secondary outcomes for carers: psychological health (GHQ-12); sense of competence (SSCQ).

Results

DSPs were successfully trained, compliance was good and welcomed by participants. Mean 6 months BADLS Score increased to 14.6 (SD: 10.4) in intervention and 12.6 (SD: 8.1) in comparator, indicative of greater dependence in the activities of daily living. Adjusted between-group difference was 0.38 (95% CI: –0.89 to 1.65, p=0.56). Though this suggests greater dependency in the intervention group the difference was not significant. No differences were found in secondary outcomes.

Conclusions

This intervention did not maintain independence in the activities of daily living with no improvement in other outcomes for people with dementia or carers.

Trial registration number

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN12591717.

Read article at journal's website

Related Articles

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *