The Care Home Activity Project: Does introducing an occupational therapy programme reduce depression in care homes?
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The primary aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that depression severity in care homes for older people would be reduced by an occupational therapy programme. This was a feasibility study for a cluster randomised controlled trial and involved four intervention and four control homes in northern England. In each intervention home a registered occupational therapist worked full-time for one year delivering an individualised programme to participants. Pre- and post-intervention data for the Geriatric Mental State–Depression Scale (primary outcome measure) were obtained for 143 participants. Secondary outcomes included dependency and quality of life. No significant intervention effects were found in any of the quantitative outcome measures, though qualitative interviews showed the intervention was valued by many participants, staff and relatives. Therapist ratings and qualitative interviews suggested that the intervention was beneficial to some participants but no distinctive characteristics were found that might enable prediction of likely benefit on initial assessment. This exploratory study provides no evidence that this intervention produced benefits in terms of depression, dependency or quality of life. Lack of prior power calculations means these are not definitive findings; but numbers were sufficient to perform the required analyses and data did not suggest effects that would have reached statistical significance with a larger sample. This study highlights issues for consideration in providing such services in care homes.
Aging and Mental Health
Medical and Health Sciences