Psychosocial interventions for dementia patients in long-term care

Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, Emmelyne Vasse, Sytse Zuidema, Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, Wendy Moyle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Psychosocial interventions in long-term care have the potential to improve the quality of care and quality of life of persons with dementia. Our aim is to explore the evidence and consensus on psychosocial interventions for persons with dementia in long-term care. Methods: This study comprises an appraisal of research reviews and of European, U.S. and Canadian dementia guidelines. Results: Twenty-eight reviews related to long-term care psychosocial interventions were selected. Behavioral management techniques (such as behavior therapy), cognitive stimulation, and physical activities (such as walking) were shown positively to affect behavior or physical condition, or to reduce depression. There are many other promising interventions, but methodological weaknesses did not allow conclusions to be drawn. The consensus presented in the guidelines emphasized the importance of care tailored to the needs and capabilities of persons with dementia and consideration of the individual's life context. Conclusions: Long-term care offers the possibility for planned care through individualized care plans, and consideration of the needs of persons with dementia and the individual life context. While using recommendations based on evidence and consensus is important to shape future long-term care, further well-designed research is needed on psychosocial interventions in long-term care to strengthen the evidence base for such care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1128
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • behavioral problems
  • dementia
  • guidelines
  • long-term care
  • nursing homes
  • psychosocial interventions


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