Study Suggests Exercise Programs, Occupational Therapy, and Psychosocial Interventions for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers Can Prove Cost-Effective

March 23, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A literature review published in BMC Geriatrics on March 9, 2018, sought to evaluate economic aspects of nonpharmacological interventions for persons with dementia and their informal caregivers. Through the evaluation of 16 studies published from 2010 to 2016, researchers were unable to identify evidence of economic evaluations on sensory interventions and creative interventions such as art, music, or dance therapy—interventions that are gaining traction in the field. However, researchers did find evidence that exercise programs, occupational therapy, and cognitive and psychological interventions directly targeted at persons with dementia were cost-effective compared to what the authors refer to as "care as usual." The authors noted the importance of using cost-effective interventions, given that "the global societal economic cost was estimated to be US$818 billion" for treating persons with dementia in 2015 alone. The authors note that medications associated with dementia care provide "small but clinically important symptomatic benefits on cognition and function," but these medications are also associated with challenges such as managing numerous side effects they cause.

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