BACKGROUND: This 12 month, Australian study sought to compare the Capabilities Model of Dementia Care (CMDC) with usual long-term care (LTC), in terms of (1) the effectiveness of the CMDC in assisting care staff to improve Quality Of Life (QOL) for older people with dementia; and (2) whether implementation of the CMDC improved staff attitudes towards, and experiences of working and caring for the person with dementia.
METHODS: A single blind, non-randomized controlled trial design, involving CMDC intervention group (three facilities) and a comparison usual LTC practice control group (one facility), was conducted from August 2010 to September 2011. Eighty-one staff members and 48 family members of a person with dementia were recruited from these four LTC facilities. At baseline, 6 and 12 months, staff completed a modified Staff Experiences of Working with Demented Residents questionnaire (SEWDR), and families completed the Quality of Life - Alzheimer's Disease questionnaire (QOL-AD).
RESULTS: LTC staff in the usual care group reported significantly lower SEWDR scores (i.e. less work satisfaction) than those in the CMDC intervention group at 12 months (p = 0.005). Similarly, family members in the comparison group reported significantly lower levels of perceived QOL for their relative with dementia (QOL-AD scores) than their counterparts in the CMDC intervention group at 12 months (p = 0.012).
CONCLUSIONS: Although the study has a number of limitations the CMDC appears to be an effective model of dementia care - more so than usual LTC practice. The CMDC requires further evaluation with participants from a diverse range of LTC facilities and stages of cognitive impairment.