Just 10 minutes of social interaction a day improves wellbeing in dementia care

July 26, 2018, University of Exeter
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

An e-learning programme that trains care home staff to engage in meaningful social interaction with people who have dementia improves wellbeing and has sustained benefits.

The average person with dementia in a care home experiences just two minutes of each day. They also showed that out of 170 available training programmes for nursing home , only three are evidence-based—none of which improve quality of life.

The Wellbeing and Health for people with Dementia (WHELD) programme trained care home staff to increase social interaction from two minutes a day to ten, combined with a programme of personalised care. It involves simple measures such as talking to residents about their interests and involving them in decisions around their care.

The Improving Staff Attitudes and Care for People with Dementia e-Learning (tEACH) study, conducted by the University of Exeter Medical School and King's College London in partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2018. The study involved 280 residents and care staff in 24 care homes over nine months.

Carers took part in an e-learning programme with key modules based on the WHELD training, with or without Skype supervision. They compared outcomes to usual care. Both treatment arms improved resident wellbeing and staff attitudes to person-centred care. The Skype supported arm continued to deliver improved resident wellbeing four months after the trial was completed.

Joanne McDermid, of King's College London, who presented the research, said: "Care home staff are under a lot of pressure—it's a really tough job. It's a challenging environment for both residents living with dementia and staff. Our programme moved care staff to see dementia through the eyes of those who are living it. We found a simple approach, delivered as e-learning, improves staff attitudes to care and residents' wellbeing, ultimately improving lives for people with dementia.

"In a traditionally task -focussed work environment, our programme reminds us of the human side; of the full life experience of those living with dementia in care."

Professor Clive Ballard, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research, said: "Just take a moment to imagine life with just two minutes of social interaction each day. To accept this is discrimination against people with . We urgently need to do better. Most care home training programmes are not evidence-based. We know our programme works over the long term, and we now know it can be delivered remotely. We now need to roll this out to care homes."

Watch care home staff talk about their experience of WHELD training:

Explore further: Dementia care improved by just one hour of social interaction each week

Related Stories

Dementia care improved by just one hour of social interaction each week

February 6, 2018
Increasing the amount of social interaction for people with dementia living in care homes to just one hour a week improves quality of life when combined with personalised care.

One social hour a week in dementia care improves lives and saves money

July 16, 2017
Person-centred activities combined with just one hour a week of social interaction can improve quality of life and reduce agitation for people with dementia living in care homes, while saving money.

Neglect common in English care homes

March 21, 2018
The largest-ever survey of care home staff in England, led by UCL researchers, has found that neglectful behaviours are widespread.

Common painkillers triple harmful side effects in dementia

July 24, 2018
Researchers from the University of Exeter, King's College London and the University of Bergen are presenting two studies at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2018 (AAIC) highlighting a significant increase ...

Improvements needed in hospital care of people living with dementia

April 26, 2018
Nurses and healthcare workers are highly concerned about vulnerable patients who make up the equivalent of 3.2 million hospital beds per year, according to a new report by Cardiff University.

New innovative training to improve the care of people with dementia in general hospitals

September 11, 2013
Academics and healthcare professionals from across Greater Manchester as well as people with a diagnosis of dementia and family carers have teamed up to devise a new training programme for general hospital staff.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover why some people with brain markers of Alzheimer's have no dementia

August 16, 2018
A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered why some people that have brain markers of Alzheimer's never develop the classic dementia that others do. The study is now available in the ...

Researchers identify new genes that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease

August 14, 2018
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, working with scientists across the nation on the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP), have discovered new genes that will further current understanding of the ...

Deaths from resident-to-resident incidents in dementia offers insights to inform policy

August 14, 2018
Analyzing the incidents between residents in dementia in long-term care homes may hold the key to reducing future fatalities among this vulnerable population, according to new research from the University of Minnesota School ...

Scientists propose a new lead for Alzheimer's research

August 14, 2018
A University of Adelaide-led team of scientists has suggested a potential link between iron in our cells and the rare gene mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease, which could provide new avenues for future research.

Eye conditions provide new lens screening for Alzheimer's disease

August 8, 2018
Alzheimer's disease is difficult to diagnose as well as treat, but researchers now have a promising new screening tool using the window to the brain: the eye.

Potential indicator for the early detection of dementias

August 7, 2018
Researchers at the University of Basel have discovered a factor that could support the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. This cytokine is induced by cellular stress reactions ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.